There could not be a more important time for the UK to look outwards and support some of the world’s poorest people. The pandemic is ripping through developing countries’ healthcare systems. The climate emergency is making life harder for farmers living from one harvest to the next. And there are still billions living without adequate water or sanitation. Whether it’s Covid or the climate emergency, global solutions are essential, not optional. Whilst anyone is at risk anywhere in the world from these global threats, we are all still at risk.
Today Parliament challenges the government on their appalling decision to cut international aid funding and to resist putting this decision to a vote. They’ve said their reasons are defensible – but if they are, they should not be afraid of asking MPs to represent their constituents and vote on this.
I am proud that the people of Bristol West are supporting me and my Labour colleagues in calling for the government to stick to the commitment of 0.7% of GDP in international aid. In March, I wrote to the Secretary of State to ask the government to reconsider this funding cut and to put it to a vote in the House of Commons. Many constituents have written to me to tell me about programmes which are at risk of imminent termination, for example those that make the UK a world-leading research base in science.
The UK must uphold its commitments to overseas aid – commitments made on the world stage, set in British law and written in the last Tory manifesto.