Rebel MPs are set to vote with the government on the foreign aid cuts after previous threats to join Labour in voting down a £4 billion cut proposed by Rishi Sunak.
In a letter, 14 rebel MPs said today’s “compromise” achieves a balance between keeping UK’s commitment to the world and doing so in a way that protects “our public finances”, and urged all MPs to support their proposals.
The letter read: “The United Kingdom is a global leader in providing support to the world’s most vulnerable.
‘We are now supporting the government’
“Whether through striking multi-lateral agreements with other countries, supporting programmes in the developing world, throughout armed forces providing peace and security or through the individual acts of charity millions of our citizens contribute; we should rightly be proud as a country of all that we do to make the world a fairer, safer and more just place.”
It added: “It is in this spirit we have worked with the government to fashion a compromise that will ensure the 0.7 per cent commitment to aid spending is not only reasserted, but also for the first time to clarify the conditions on which we will return to it.
“As a result, we are now able to support the government. It is right we keep our commitment to be one of the world’s most generous aid donors, but it is also right to do so in a way which ensures that our public finances, the foundation of that commitment, are secure.
? | NEW: 14 rebel MPs will now be voting with the government on the foreign aid cut pic.twitter.com/XOgqFB2A2T— Politics For All (@PoliticsForAlI) July 13, 2021
Tories election pledge at risk
The statement comes after the government has announced a reduction in foreign aid from 0.7 per cent of national income, which is enshrined in law, to 0.5 per cent.
Sir Roger Gale, MP for North Thanet in Kent, said he will “uphold the law” by voting based on the Tories’ election pledge, which involved committing to spending 0.7 per cent of the UK’s gross national income on foreign aid, alongside the law which protects it.
“As should every MP today,” UK cross-party advocacy group Best for Britain reacted.
Gary Carter praised Gale’s promise and added: “At least there are a few proper Conservatives left.”
???— Best for Britain (@BestForBritain) July 13, 2021
As should every MP today. https://t.co/mlycwARRGb
Well said. At least there are a few proper Conservatives left.— Gary Carter (@gary_d_carter) July 13, 2021
Sunak’s proposals “not good enough”
David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, said Sunak’s proposal was “not good enough” and that it would likely cause 100,000 children deaths, according to The Guardian.
But Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the Commons asked if MPs think public finances should be “kept under reasonable control” and if they “recognise there are limits” to them.
Labour have recently intensified calls for the government to reverse its move to slash foreign aid after a group of philantropists pledged more than £100 million to replace UK’s proposed cuts.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is amongst those putting themselves forward for donations towards projects tackling preventable diseases and family planning.