David Warburton MP for Somerton and Frome has joined 30 Conservative MPs who have now signed an amendment designed to trigger a revolt against the government’s proposed cut to the UK’s aid budget from 0.7% to 0.5% of national income.
The new clause is a technical amendment enforcing the 2015 International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act, obliging the government to meet a target of 0.7% for official development assistance (ODA), next year (2022).
The Bill reaches report stage in the House of Commons and a subsequent vote on Monday 7th June. The groundswell of the rebellion looks likely to result in the Government’s first defeat in the House of Commons since Boris Johnson’s landslide victory in the December 2019 General Election.
The amendment, in the name of former Development Secretary and former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell and former FCO adviser and newly elected MP Anthony Mangnall, is now backed by 30 Conservative MPs including former Prime Minister Theresa May, former Brexit Secretary David Davis, leader of the One Nation Caucus Damian Green, leading Brexiteer Tim Loughton, former Defence Minister Jonnie Mercer, former Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb, leading Trade Bill rebel Nus Ghani, Foreign Affairs Committee member Bob Seely, and new intake MP Ben Everitt.
This is in addition to nine Chairs of Commons Select Committees, including the International Development Committee (Sarah Champion), the Foreign Affairs Committee (Tom Tugendhat) and the Defence Committee (Tobias Ellwood). It is also supported by every former Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee still in the Commons (Sir Edward Leigh, Dame Margaret Hodge, David Davis and Meg Hillier), who signed the amendment when it was laid in Parliament yesterday.
David Warburton MP commented, "Our aid budget is of huge symbolic importance, even aside from its life-saving effects on the world’s most vulnerable. The worth of a commitment is whether or not it is maintained in the face of external challenges. It’s vital that the UK does just that – maintains our commitment to the world’s poorest at a time when their plight is exacerbated by Covid-19.”
David continued, “The UK is the only G7 country cutting aid. The French are set to reach 0.7%, the Germans will exceed 0.7 % this year and the Americans are increasing aid by $14 billion. The cuts to UK aid represent just 1% of the Chancellor’s borrowing this year, and the UN says this aid would have helped prevent around 250,000 maternal and child deaths.”
Further detail on David Warburton’s position is outlined here.
Andrew Mitchell MP said: “More and more of my colleagues in the House of Commons are supporting this move to stand by our manifesto promise. With our economy returning to growth, there is no justification for balancing the books on the backs of the world’s poor. With G7 leaders coming to Britain next week, there is an opportunity for us to reclaim our rightful place on the global stage. Britain’s national interest is not being served by the devastating impact these cuts are already having on the ground and the unnecessary loss of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. We urge the government to think again.