Claire Young, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition group on South Gloucestershire Council, has called on the region's three Conservative MPs - Luke Hall, Jack Lopresti and Chris Skidmore - not to vote to abandon the UK’s 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) international development spending target, and thereby break their election commitment.
In the 2019 General Election, Conservative MPs stood on a manifesto promise to “proudly maintain our commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of GNI on development”.
The Government announced plans in 2020 to cut the development budget from 0.7% to 0.5% of GNI.
On Monday 7 June, if selected by the Speaker, a vote will be held in the House of Commons on whether to reinstate the 0.7% target. South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Claire Young, has challenged Hall, Lopresti and Skidmore to follow through on their election pledge to support the 0.7%, and vote to retain the target.
Councillor Young said:
“South Gloucestershire needs MPs who will keep their word. When our three Conservative MPs stood for Parliament in 2019, they pledged to support the 0.7% target on aid spending. Now they have an opportunity to deliver on that promise.
“If they fail to support the target, they will be breaking a promise to the people of South Gloucestershire and the world’s poorest. Every vote will matter - so their decision could have a huge impact on the millions of people around the world that need our help.
“The Liberal Democrats have supported international development spending for over sixty years and enshrined the 0.7% target into law in 2015. It is the right thing to do, both for the UK, and those who need our help. On 7th June, Luke Hall, Jack Lopresti and Chris Skidmore must vote to reinstate the 0.7% target.”
Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs and International Development Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:
“The Conservative Government’s decision to cut development spending has done extraordinary damage to Britain’s reputation with our allies and partners from across the globe. Now is the time for leadership - but instead, the Conservatives want Britain to hide from its responsibilities during a global pandemic.
“Every Conservative MP stood on a manifesto commitment to the 0.7% target. If they vote to cut the development budget next week, they will be breaking a promise to their constituents and to the world’s poorest.
“Liberal Democrats will vote to reinstate the 0.7% target, which we enshrined in law. International development spending protects the most vulnerable people around the world and gives them a better chance at life.
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