I wrote a piece yesterday on the theme of our nations Foreign Aid provision that a local Tory MP pointed out was promised in his 2019 Manifesto and several previous manifestos. Along with that MP there are a number of other Tories including the previous Prime Minister and her predecessor who are clearly very unhappy that the current Prime Minister and his Chancellor have cut down the Foreign Aid from the promised 0.7% of our GDP to 0.5% or potentially less. The issue regarding the Aid was raised by Peter Bottomley who is the MP for West Worthing during a debate that followed on from a statement by Boris Johnson on 16th March under the title of “Integrated Review”. As that heading is not very clear the subtitle in terms of his first few words are “I will make a statement on the Government’s integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy, which we are publishing today”. Sadly the response from Boris to Peter Bottomley was not very good and I asked the question if Peter would raise the subject again after Easter. A few hours later he responded on twitter to say that he was certainly planning to do so which is very encouraging. Of course the speech by Boris Johnson was much longer than the few words above. Here are a few more of the words:
The overriding purpose of this review, the most comprehensive since the cold war, is to make the United Kingdom stronger, safer and more prosperous, while standing up for our values. Our international policy is a vital instrument for fulfilling this Government’s vision of uniting and levelling up across our country, reinforcing the Union, and securing Britain’s place as a science superpower and a hub of innovation and research….Britain’s commitment to the security of our European home will remain unconditional and immoveable….The greater our unity at home, the stronger our influence abroad, which will, in turn, open up new markets and create jobs in every corner of the UK, not only maximising opportunities for the British people, but, I hope, inspiring a sense of pride that their country is willing to follow in its finest traditions and stand up for what is right.
The challenge our nation is facing is that there is very strong views expressed in the Northern Ireland as we have seen in the last few days, in Scotland and also in Wales. There are also many of us in England who are wanting to find a way forward with our connections in Europe that have become seriously challenged as a result of us leaving the EU and our very poor deal arrangement that was not resolved until the very last minute at the end of 2020. So the question needs to be what will the Government do to improve matters compared to where we are currently?