House of Commons: PA images via Getty Images
Theresa May has backed the growing conservative rebellion over aid cuts abroad, with 30 MPs now planning to inflict on Boris Johnson her first defeat of the Commons since her election victory.
The former prime minister added his name to a growing number of bankers who support an amendment to force the government to spend 0.7% of GDP on international development.
The amendment, tabled by former International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell, introduces a new clause in the Advanced Research and Invention Agency bill, which has the reporting phase in parliament on Monday.
The Commons showdown has been deliberately scheduled to put maximum pressure on Johnson as he prepares to host the G7 World Leaders Summit in Cornwall later in the week.
The Prime Minister has received a strong fire from his party to temporarily reduce foreign aid from 0.7% of national income to 0.5% and thus leave his manifest commitment of 2019 to keep spending at a pace higher.
Charities and others have warned that the government’s decision to cut the aid budget amid a global pandemic will have long-term consequences.
Proponents of Mitchell’s amendment believe he has both the multiparty support and the careful wording needed for the president of the Commons to select him on Monday, a move that would set the stage for the biggest threat still facing the 80-year-old of Johnson.
Government whips will spend the next few days trying to increase the number, but many rebels believe they have at least 45 MPs needed to bring about a defeat, with the House of Lords also ready to line up behind them.
In addition to May, former ministers Johnny Mercer and Damian Green added their names to the list on Thursday, increasing public numbers from 18 to 30.
Mitchell said: “More and more of my House of Commons colleagues are supporting this step to keep our promise of the manifesto. With the return of our economy to growth, there is no justification for balancing it. the books on the backs of the world’s poor.
“With G7 leaders coming to Britain next week, we have a chance to regain our rightful place on the world stage. Britain’s national interest is not affected by the devastating impact these cuts have had. “They are already on the ground and the unnecessary loss of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. We urge the government to think again.”
The UK is the only country to help reduce the G7, as the French will reach 0.7%, the Germans will exceed 0.7% this year and the Americans will increase aid by $ 14 billion .
Cuts in UK aid account for only 1% of what the chancellor is lending this year, but it means that funding for the UN reproductive health program has been reduced by 85%. The UN says the aid would have helped prevent nearly 250,000 maternal and child deaths.
The personal priority for help from the Prime Minister is the education of girls. But girls ’education has fallen by 25%, while Unicef, the United Nations Children’s Fund, has seen a 60% reduction.
Most troubling to the prime minister, the rebellion is made up of conservatives from all sides of the party, including those from traditional right-wingers such as Sir Desmond Swayne and Sir Edward Leigh, as well as former Brexit secretary David Davis.
The 30 Conservative MPs who now support the amendment are:
1. The Honorable Andrew Mitchell (former Secretary of Development and Former Whip)
2. Anthony Mangnall (former adviser to William Hague’s FCO)
3. The Honorable Sir Peter Bottomley (Father of the House)
4. The Honorable Theresa May (former Prime Minister)
5. Rt Hon Damian Green (former de facto Deputy Prime Minister)
6. Rt Hon Karen Bradley (Chair of the House Procedures Committee)
7. Rt Hon. Caroline Nokes (Chair of the Women and Equality Committee)
8. Rt Hon Harriett Baldwin (former Minister of Africa)
9. The Honorable Sir Edward Leigh (former Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee)
10. The Honorable David Davis (former Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and former Brexit Secretary)
11. Tom Tugendhart (Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs)
12. The Honorable Tobias Ellwood (Chairman of the Defense Committee)
13. The Honorable Jeremy Hunt (Chairman of the Health and Welfare Committee and former Secretary of State)
14. Neil Parish (Chairman of the Environment Committee)
15. The Honorable Sir Roger Gale (former Vice-President of the Conservative Party)
16. Sr. The Honorable Sir Desmond Swayne (former Minister of Public Works)
17. Derek Thomas (constituency MP to host Carbis Bay’s Cornwall G7 next week)
18. Bob Seely (Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs)
19. Nus Ghani (rebel leader of trade law)
20. Rt Hon Tim Loughton (former Minister of Children and leader of Brexiteer)
21. Ben Everitt (new Member of Parliament)
22. David Warburton (former President of the British APPG Council)
23. Crispin Blunt (former chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs)
24. The Honorable Stephen Crabb (former Welsh Secretary)
25. Sir Bob Neill (Chairman of the Justice Committee)
26. Pauline Latham OBE (member of the International Development Committee)
27. Simon Hoare (Chairman of the Northern Ireland Committee)
28. Bob Blackman (Executive Secretary of the 1922 Committee)
29. Johnny Mercer (former Minister of Defense)
30. Giles Watling (who was re-elected with 72% of the vote in Clacton)
The modification is also signed by:
• Sarah Champion (Chair of the International Development Committee)
• Meg Hiller (Chair of the Public Accounts Committee)
• Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge (former Chair of the Public Accounts Committee)
• Preet Kaur Gill (Shadow Development Secretary)
• Lisa Nandy (Shadow Foreign Secretary)
The DUP, which sometimes votes with the Conservatives, is strongly opposed to aid cuts and all other parties, from the Labor Party to the SNP and Lib Dems, seem willing to support the amendment.
Home Secretary Victoria Atkins told Sky News that the UK could “keep its head high in terms of international development”.
“The prime minister has made it clear that this is a temporary measure. In 2019, no one could have foreseen the extent of the pandemic and the measures we had to take as a country to deal with it.
“It has had a huge impact on our economy. Therefore, we have had to make very, very difficult decisions. ”
“Even with this small temporary reduction, we remain one of the largest aid donors in the world and spend more than £ 10bn on aid.”
However, critics point out that as aid is already tied to GDP, it has fallen anyway due to lower growth and adding further cuts to the top causes unnecessary damage to vital work in developing countries. .
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