DFID-FCO Merger

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:36 am on 18th June 2020.

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Photo of Chris Law Chris Law Shadow SNP Spokesperson (International Development) 10:36 am, 18th June 2020

The decision to abolish the Department for International Development and rechannel funds for eradicating global poverty to further diplomatic and commercial interests is unforgivable, particularly amid a global pandemic. The last three Prime Ministers opposed this merger, as does every development organisation that has been in touch, and the SNP. Today the International Development Secretary is not even present to answer any questions. Will the Foreign Secretary say whether the Cabinet was consulted? Were international development organisations consulted, and which, if any, supported this decision?

How will aid spending be scrutinised in the new Department? Will the UK continue to follow the Development Assistance Committee definition of official development assistance, or will the Government try to redefine aid on their own terms? Finally, today we learned that one of the UK Government’s recent Secretaries of State would like the HMS Royal Yacht Britannia to be funded on the back of the poorest, most vulnerable and marginalised people in the world. Is the royal family even aware of that? Is it not the case that such a move is led not by a vision of global Britain, but by the myopic Prime Minister of “let them eat cake” Britain?