Last week in Prime Ministers Question time Peter Bottomley from West Worthing asked a question about the Foreign Aid situation following the debate and vote which meant that the Government was refusing to go back to 0.7% despite its promise in its 2019 manifesto. So Peter set out a proposal which many of us would not be inspired by, but at least it was intended to be a way forward for Foreign Aid that would increase it modestly each year from now until it returned to its 0.7%. So the response from Boris started off implying and indeed stating “As fast as we can” however that was then added to by the words “and when fiscal conditions allow.” which of course makes the first five words entirely nonsensical. Let us see how long fast as we can will be!
Peter: It should be obvious that the Cabinet is as inclusive as the English football team, and I think that some of these criticisms are misplaced. Mr Speaker, I welcome your words at the beginning of Tuesday’s debate and the Prime Minister’s first paragraph on the Treasury minute from Monday. Can we agree that a vote in this House does not amend an Act of Parliament passed by both Houses? Are we expecting a similar debate in another place? Can I suggest to the Prime Minister that, instead of leaping from 0.5% to 0.7% at some stage in the future, we step towards it, because a 40% increase in one year would be ludicrous? Perhaps the Chancellor could consider going to 0.55%, 0.6%, 0.65% and then 0.7%.
Boris: I thank my hon. Friend very much for his opening point. On official development assistance, of course I can give him the reassurance that we will continue to follow the law, and he will have heard clearly what my right hon. Friend the Chancellor had to say from this Dispatch Box and what I have said. We want to return to 0.7% as fast as we can, and when fiscal conditions allow.