Boris Johnson faces growing Conservative rebellion amid ‘short-sighted’ reduction in foreign aid | Politics | New
Andrew Mitchell, a former Tory chief whip, is leading a revolt against the prime minister – and is currently backed by at least 14 backbenchers. This number is expected to increase. Mr Johnson wreaked havoc when he announced a temporary cut in foreign aid spending from 0.7% of national income to just 0.5% – a reduction of around Â£ 4 billion a year.
The group of MPs believe they have enough support to see new legislation passed to increase aid spending by 2022.
The rebels have tabled an amendment that would force ministers to restore a legally binding target of spending 0.7% of national income from next January.
Mr. Mitchell said: âEvery member of the House of Commons was elected on a very clear manifest promise to keep that commitment.
âI have repeatedly urged the government to respect the law and implored ministers to reconsider breaking this pledge.
âThe cuts are now having a devastating impact on the ground and causing unnecessary loss of life. “
Mitchell added: “We urge the government to think again, or we will ask Parliament to reaffirm the law as it is in order to force the government to live up to its legal commitment, to keep its very clear commitment to British voters. and keep Britain’s promise to the rest of the world. “
The prime minister defended his decision, saying it was necessary to repair the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
A government spokesperson told the BBC that the pandemic had “forced us to make difficult but necessary decisions” on foreign spending.
Former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and former Aid Minister Sir Desmond Swayne join Mr Mitchell in the Tories’ revolt.
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Charities have warned that thousands could die as a result of the decision and many more could be left without food or medical treatment.
According to new data from the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the reduction in UNFPA supplies amounts to around Â£ 131 million. It provides contraceptives to some of the poorest communities in the world.
IPPF fears that the budget cut could lead to an estimated 2.4 million unintended pregnancies.
Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Managing Director of IPPF, said: âThe government is not only dismantling well-established clinics and health care teams, it is also depriving remaining resources of precious resources without warning.
“Soon, healthcare teams will have nothing to give to the women and girls who go to contraception clinics, which will inevitably lead to millions of unwanted pregnancies, thousands of unsafe abortions and thousands. maternal deaths.