As the chair of Conservative Friends of International Development I felt compelled to speak in the debate. Yesterday we celebrated Her Majesty’s 90th birthday. As always, watching and joining in with the celebrations, I felt incredibly proud to be British. To me, a part of being British is having compassion and helping those who are less fortunate than we are. I am fully supportive of the fact that our country supports those overseas who are less fortunate by giving 0.7% of our GDP in aid. I have always believed that this country should be nothing but proud of its work to support developing countries and those who are less fortunate than us, and proud of what it does in worldwide emergencies. Last year, when Ebola broke out in Africa, we gave support to treat and contain the disease. As the scale of the Syria crisis has continued to grow, we have given continuous support, and taken steps to react and to help the most vulnerable at the heart of the situation.
I have visited Rwanda with Project Umubano and seen first-hand how the country has managed to start rebuilding itself after such horrors, and I have never had any doubt that we should help those who are less fortunate than we are. I have also visited Jordan and seen refugees, in the camps and in the host communities, and have spoken to them about their aspirations to return home to the country they love. I have no doubt that we should be giving hope to those who have so little hope. We are often blind to the daily challenges so that many people face around the world—the humanitarian crisis that might not be reported in the news, and the underlying problems at the root of things in some nations that make a quick fix an impossible task.
I wholeheartedly agree that we must have a rigorous process in place to ensure that the right money gets to the right places, and I believe the Government should ensure that there is the right level of scrutiny. I believe that that does happen. It is, after all, the public’s money that is being spent. We must be able to demonstrate that it is being done effectively.