The UK prime minister is accused of ‘walking away from millions still struggling.’
LONDON — Boris Johnson decried cross-party criticism of his decision to cut international aid as “leftie propaganda” from those who want to “run the country down.”
He was challenged on his policy at prime minister’s questions ahead of the G7 summit, at which the U.K. will be the only country from the group overseeing a reduction in foreign aid.
Ian Blackford, leader of the SNP at Westminster, said, “At the very moment when global leadership is needed more than ever, this Tory government is walking away from millions still struggling from the COVID pandemic and a poverty pandemic.”
He asked of Johnson, “Will he stand up today and commit to a straight vote in this House on his inhumane cuts?”
Johnson responded, “We’re in very, very difficult financial times, but he shouldn’t believe the leftie propaganda you hear from people opposite. We’re spending £10 billion overseas. All they want to do is run this country down when we’ve increased spending on girls’ education alone to almost half a billion pounds.”
Blackford pointed out that the recent campaign to boost the foreign aid budget has been led by prominent Conservatives, including Theresa May, and quipped, “I don’t think I’ve ever heard the previous prime minister called a leftist propagandist.”
May was among those to sign up to a bid to reverse the cut in international development funding from 0.7 percent of national income to 0.5 percent earlier this week.
While an amendment intended to force the change was dismissed by the House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle as falling outside the scope of the legislation to which it had been attached, he warned that MPs needed to be given an “effective” say on the change to aid.
On Tuesday the U.K. government said there were no plans to allow such a vote, with the prime minister’s spokesperson telling journalists, “We are acting in accordance with the [international development] act. It explicitly envisages the circumstances which we now face which is this global pandemic.”
Conservative MPs attempting to strong-arm Johnson on aid have vowed to fight on, however. One of the architects of the doomed amendment said, “We will use the [House of] Lords, the legal route and any other that are available to us.”
Source: POLITICO https://www.politico.eu/article/boris-johnson-dismisses-foreign-aid-criticism-leftie-propaganda/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication