Vote on foreign aid Boris Johnson narrowly defeats Tory rebellion as budget cuts are accepted.
BORIS JOHNSON has narrowly avoided a Tory revolt over his cuts to international aid spending.
MPs voted 333 to 298 in favor of the Government’s proposal to continue cutting overseas aid funding for the foreseeable future, a majority of 35. The outcome would come as a relief to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who were on the verge of losing the case.
Mr Sunak praised the outcome, promising to “work with all MPs on how we can continue to be a worldwide leader in assisting the world’s poorest, on how we can improve our aid spending, target it more efficiently, and ensure that it reaches those who need it most.”
Last October, the Richmond MP declared that the overseas aid budget will be reduced from 0.7 percent of GDP to 0.5 percent.
He explained that the move was unavoidable due to the massive increase in government borrowing required due to the pandemic, but that he would return “when the budgetary situation permits.”
Conservative backbenchers were outraged at the time, and sought a vote on the reduction.
Rebels had vowed to join forces with Labour in order to compel the government to adhere to the higher expenditure level.
The 0.7 percent is written into legislation, and it was reiterated in the Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto, with MPs saying that the reduction in spending was therefore illegal.
The 0.5 percent level means that this year’s aid budget will be £10 billion, or £4 billion less than if the previous commitment had been kept.
After agreeing on a compromise motion on international aid, ministers sprung today’s vote on MPs yesterday afternoon.
Ministers would return to 0.7 percent under certain instances, according to the motion.
Only if the Office for Budget Responsibility feels the UK is not borrowing to finance day-to-day spending and underlying debt is reducing would funding be boosted to the stated level.
The last time such circumstances occurred was in 2001.
Despite early signs that a high-profile revolt could result in an embarrassing defeat, a sufficient number of Conservative members were persuaded to support the compromise.
However, a number of high-profile backbenchers, including former Prime Minister Theresa May, followed through on their promise to vote down the motion.
Andrew Mitchell, the de facto leader of the Tory revolt and former international development secretary, accused Mr Sunak of “Brinkwire Summary News” when criticizing the government.