It has been reported that the Prime Minister is poised to offer MPs a vote on whether to allow the upcoming foreign aid cuts. Mr Johnson is “actively considering” plans to allow MPs a binding vote on the £4billion cuts to the foreign aid budget before Parliament rises for the summer recess at the end of July. He has been warned that the Conservatives could be seen as the “nasty party” if he goes ahead with cuts to the overseas aid budget.
The Prime Minister has been advised to allow a vote on foreign aid cuts or risk MPs bringing forward another rebel amendment.
A group of approximately 50 rebel Tory MPs, that include former Prime Minister Theresa May, have articulated their opposition to cuts in the foreign aid budget.
Referring to the controversial cuts to the foreign aid budget a senior Whitehall source, speaking to the Times, said: “The rebels have made it clear that this issue is not going to go away.
“I think there is now a realisation within the Government that this could become a much longer issue and there is legislation coming up that will require the goodwill of MPs.
“Giving MPs a vote in parliament is now under very active consideration and there is the very real prospect that it will happen before the summer recess.”
A government source said: “A plan to bring forward a vote has been drawn up by the Foreign Office and the Treasury but what that vote will look like has yet to be decided.”
The Government’s planned cuts would see a planned reduction of the original 0.7 percent of national income, which is legally enshrined in law.
The planned cuts by the Government will see the foreign aid budget drop to 0.5 percent.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is understood to be protective of the foreign aid budget.
Last week Chancellor Rishi Sunak failed to agree on a compromise with Mr Raab over the cuts.
The news comes as Mr Johnson faces questions from his own party after the Conservatives lost the Batley and Spen by-election.
Labour won the West Yorkshire constituency by 323 votes despite being hotly contested by the Tories.
Speaking to The Times one Tory grandee said: “We did much worse than we thought we would do in Batley and Spen.
“It’s clear there are no votes to be won on this issue in the red wall seats and there is a feeling among colleagues that we are turning back into the ‘nasty party’.
“It’s not just the cut to aid.
“It is also the chumocracy claims and Hancock’s resignation, which all bundled together have an aroma of nastiness about them.”
Author: Brian McGleenon
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