On Tuesday in the House of Commons Rory Stewart, currently the International Development Secretary commenced a debate on Sustainable Development Goals which covered a huge amount of themes and it was clearly a vital discussion. However at the end the sense of what is happening appeared to be something of a damp squib as Harriet Baldwin ended the debate stating “We have published this week the main messages from the UK voluntary national review. Obviously we will save for the high-level forum some of the details of the report itself, but my understanding is that publication is imminent. I am not able to specify precisely on which day it is coming out, because I am not sure whether that has been decided; as the hon. Gentleman knows, beings way above my pay grade decide such things”
It is always concerning when Ministers don’t know when their own publications are being published. The fact is that the document includes a huge number of contributions and it is part of our nations attempt to strengthen its focus on supporting other more vulnerable nations. Although there were many contributions from a wide range of MPs the only Sussex MP to speak was Lloyd Russell Moyle who made a number of contributions. One of which related to a matter that other MPs had pointed out raising their concerns that the next Prime Minister may well bring International Development to an end. This is particularly concerning if our next Prime Minister is Johnson as his supporters include Priti Patel. Lloyd stated “a number of the prospective Conservative Prime Ministers are talking about slashing it and that the lead candidate is even talking about abolishing the whole Department for International Development? We must say no to that and that we will not let that happen”
This however came after a very significant statement that sadly Harriet Baldwin chose not to respond to
“Does my hon. Friend find it appalling, as I do, that British fighter jets using British ammunition and flown by people trained in Britain on routes that are set out in Saudi control centres where British personnel are based end up bombing British-paid-for aid in Yemen? That country is suffering one of the worst humanitarian disasters we have seen in 100 years, and something being done in the voluntary national review to change our policy on Saudi Arabia and Yemen would be one instance in which we could actually see progress. Does he agree that if that is not done, it will show the Government’s commitment to peace and international justice for the sham that it is?”
It is clear we need to ensure that future debates that take place actually turn this important issue into action!