Foreign Aid: Caroline Nokes issues warning over plans to cut budget
Dozens of Conservative MPs have backed an amendment to reverse the reduction in overseas aid in a bid to humiliate the Prime Minister a week before he meets world leaders at the G7 summit. Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, announced last year that the UK would slash its aid spending from 0.7 percent of national income to 0.5 percent – a difference which amounts to £4billion.
Mrs May is among a group of 30 Conservative lawmakers who are plotting to overturn the Prime Minister’s comfortable parliamentary majority when they take action in a vote on Monday.
But backers of the Government’s decision to cut foreign aid, as the UK economy recovers from the Covid pandemic, have issued dire warnings to the rebel group.
Former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib hit out at the group of MPs’ plan, saying their efforts showed little understanding for middle-class communities.
He told Express.co.uk: “It’s much worse than patronising and preaching.
Theresa May is trying to thwart Boris Johnson’s plan to slash foreign aid
Theresa May has been warned voters will not like her plan
“Fighting to retain the foreign aid budget at a time when the United Kingdom has just suffered the biggest recession ever in its history is to treat with contempt the working and middle classes of our country.
“Not until the country has recovered should the Conservatives fret about foreign aid.
“Not until they have delivered on their central promise to level up the country should they be indulging in foreign aid.
“The homestead must come first.”
READ MORE: POLL: Should Foreign Aid cut plans be reversed? Should UK pay 0.7%?
The former PM wants to reverse a foreign aid cut
Mr Habib was also highly critical of how some of the cash the UK sends overseas has in the past been used.
He used India as an example, the fifth-biggest economy on the globe, where millions of British pounds are invested in enterprises and programmes for technical expertise.
The Brexiteer said “it is not as if the foreign aid is spent on worthy causes” and claimed that “many developing nations, that are perfectly capable of funding themselves, are beneficiaries of this money”.
He added: “India for one springs to mind.”
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Boris Johnson wants to cut foreign aid
The PM is facing a Tory rebellion
Mr Habib argued that the 0.5 percent of GDP being sent abroad under the Government’s new plan still amounts to a “whopping £10billion per annum” even after the controversial reduction.
And he took aim at Mrs May, calling her attempt to thwart her successor’s plan shameful.
He said the rebel MPs’ plan proved they were “out of touch” with the struggles of many Britons today and they should be removed from their roles.
He explained: “Theresa May’s maiden speech as PM reflected on the burning injustices of those that are just about managing. She then did precisely nothing for them.
UK foreign aid spending
“She should be ashamed of her attempt now to prevent a reduction in the budget. That money could be used for JAMs.
“The problem with her and many of her type in politics is that they gain validation not from the electorate but from their global peer group.
“The foreign aid budget allows them to stand tall with their peers. But it does nothing for the people of our country.”
Andrew Mitchell, a former international development secretary, corralled support for his amendment on Wednesday.
Theresa May is leading a Tory MP rebellion
Among the backers were former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, former Brexit secretary David Davis, former Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley and the former immigration minister Caroline Nokes.
Tory MP Andrew Rosindell, who sits on the Commons foreign affairs committee, told The Sun: “This won’t be popular with the British public.
“When people look at their local services being reduced and the size of the national debt, they won’t want to see this increase.”
He added: “If you ask the Red Wall voters they won’t want to see this.”