Ministers are acting like some African states defying democracy by denying MPs the chance to vote on cuts in overseas aid, former minister Andrew Mitchell said.
Downing Street has confirmed it will refuse to give MPs a vote on the cuts despite a specific request from House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle after parliamentary procedure denied a vote on an amendment to restore the chopped off.
MPs forced the issue onto the agenda ahead of the G7 summit this weekend, where Boris Johnson is likely to face questions from world leaders over the UK’s decision to cut billions of dollars in the budget for the aid, reducing the commitment from 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) to 0.5%.
During a debate on the issue on Tuesday, Mitchell said the rebels would have easily defeated the government on Monday, with opponents of the cup including 16 former ministers such as David Davis, Jeremy Hunt and Karen Bradley and a number of presidents select committees, including Tom Tugendhat and Tobias Ellwood.
Mitchell said they would continue to call for a binding vote in the House of Commons to overturn the cut. “We are looking for a meaningful vote on whether the government can break our promise and possibly our law. I see that Mr. President and I and my honorable friends are described as rebels. It is the government which is rebelling against its indisputable commitments, ”he declared.
He said many high-ranking MPs supported his decision to reinstate the cuts, but also said the new MPs risked being “tarred and feathered by the office of government whips” to speak out on the issue.
Mitchell said: “It is precisely because the government is afraid of losing [a vote] that he does not call. It is not democracy. When countries behave like that in Africa, they say they were wrong.
“The government and the executive are accountable to Parliament and not the other way around … especially on procurement matters, and this applies in all circumstances whether the government is led by Charles I or Boris Johnson.”
Mitchell said the cut was like ‘buy a car and shake it over £ 15,000 and then do a runner while the poor guy counts the money to find it’s only £ 10,000. It’s not appropriate, it’s fundamentally not British and we shouldn’t behave that way.
He also criticized comments he said he heard in conversations with the government about the cuts he was widely supported by the public. “The government thinks it is popular in the Red Wall sieges to prevent the money from going abroad,” he said, calling it a “very condescending attitude towards the people who live in these sieges because when these famines and disasters and floods occur, it is the people in these sieges who are the first to raise money through yard sales and pubs quizzes ”.
Former Prime Minister Theresa May said she was drawn to oppose the cut, not least because of the impact it would have on the fight against modern slavery, one of her key themes as Prime Minister.
She said the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery was seeing its funding cut by 80%, with programs cut, including those aimed at ending child sex slavery. “The UK has been the world leader in the fight against modern slavery. Now we see organizations having to turn to other governments to fill the gap caused by the UK government’s decision, ”she said.
She said the cuts would impact the streets of the UK, including making it more likely that people would seek asylum in Britain as well as cutting programs with refugees undertaken by the Department of Interior.
Speaking on behalf of the government, Steve Barclay said it needed £ 4.3bn to reverse the cut in overseas aid. The Treasury Minister said: “Decisions like this are not easy. The situation in brief is as follows: an extremely difficult economic and fiscal situation, which in turn requires difficult actions.
“Given our commitment to fiscal sustainability, we could compensate for this by raising taxes or cutting government spending – and to put that in context, a 1p increase in the base income tax rate. or an increase of around 1% in the standard VAT rate, at a time when taxes are at a historically high level.
Mitchell, intervening, said: “The Treasury really needs to do better than that – 1 pence on income tax is worth almost £ 6 billion, so it’s much less than 1 pence.”