Former Prime Minister: John Major.
Former Prime Minister, Sir John Major, has stepped in, to join the growing Conservative rebellion over cuts to foreign aid. The UK, up until Boris, temporarily cut the foreign aid budget, was spending 0.7% of its GDP on foreign aid.
The former Prime Minister urged Boris, in a statement yesterday, urged the current occupant of No 10 "to let compassion prevail". In other words, to honour the government's commitment to spend 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid.
Sir John's intervention, came, on the heels of Theresa May joining the rebellion adding more pressure on Mr Johnson. There are currently 30 Tory MPs in the rebellion, with some notable Tory grandees, in the mix. Former Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, Johnny Mercer, former International Development Minister Andrew Mitchell, and ex-aid minister Sir Desmond Swayne, are all part of the rebel alliance. The rebels think they have enough support, for new legislation to see aid spending increase in 2022.
Mr. Johnson has been criticised by all sides politically, for slashing the foreign aid budget. The rebel MPs have tabled a motion, that would force the government to reinstate, 0.7% to be spent on foreign aid. If and when the motion is passed, the government could not challenge it, as it will be legally binding.
It falls, to Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, as to whether the amendment is selected for consideration. The bill will return for further consideration, in the Commons, on Monday.
The government has defended its measure of temporarily, cutting the foreign aid budget. Blaming COVID for the reduction in foreign aid spending, in other words, money was cut from the foreign aid budget to be given, for the fight against COVID.
Labour's Lisa Nandy, said the cuts to the foreign aid budget, should be reversed. So the question has to be asked, can the rebel Tories rely on Labour and other parties, backing the rebellion?
Of course, nations depending on British aid are suffering. The shortfall will affect these nations, with so many projects to alleviate poverty. How you feel personally about this, depends on your outlook. For as many people who feel, the UK should be helping poorer nations there will be those, thinking charity begins at home.
For all the cockups and screwups, this government may have accidentally or deliberately done with COVID, there have been successes. Things like furlough have saved peoples jobs, loans have saved many a business, from going under, (although, sadly, some have gone under). The fantastic roll-out of the vaccines has been phenomenal, that cannot be taken away.
Already deprived areas of the country, already hit with cutbacks, suffered more when COVID hit. The argument went forth that instead of cutting services that the most deprived depended on, in the UK, the government should have taken money from the overseas aid budget. Ironically enough, the government did this when COVID hit.
Finally, as to whether this rebellion will be something Boris, can brush off, remains to be seen.