Boris Johnson news – live: PM could swerve Tory rebellion on ‘morally devastating’ foreign aid cuts

Cuts to foreign aid is ‘life or death issue’, says Gordon Brown

Boris Johnson may avoid an embarrassing defeat in the Commons on Monday over his decision to renege on a manifesto pledge on foreign aid after reports suggested Commons clerks were likely to rule that the amendment which rebels had hoped would be voted on was outside the scope of the bill.

Former Cabinet minister David Davis called the move to trim the aid budget “harmful” and “devastating” and suggested people who miss out on vital humanitarian assistance in developing countries may die as a result.

“No other G7 country is cutting its aid in this way. It is going to have devastating consequences across the world,” he said, adding that massive cuts in clean water which kills children worldwide and in funding for food for starving people could lead to “thousands” of deaths. “Morally, this is a devastating thing for us to have done,” Mr Davis said.

The prime minister has been criticised across the political spectrum for reducing foreign aid from 0.7 per cent of national income to 0.5 per cent, breaking a manifesto commitment.

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Foreign aid vote confirmed at 3.30pm

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle will announce in the chamber at 3.30pm whether the rebel amendment seeking to overturn the government’s cuts to foreign aid spending can be debated, the PA news agency is reporting.

His spokeswoman said that will be the time that he will reveal whether the amendment led by Tory backbencher Andrew Mitchell will be selected.

One rebel toldThe Independent it was “50-50” whether the speaker will select the amendment which seeks to reinstate the UK’s commitment to 0.7 per cent of gross national income on overseas aid spending from January 2022.

Tom Batchelor7 June 2021 14:17


Vote on foreign aid cut could still go ahead, says former international development secretary

Former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell has told the BBC’s World At One programme that it was still not known whether the Commons speaker would allow an amendment to challenge the foreign aid cut.

Amid speculation that Sir Lindsay Hoyle had decided not to allow the vote to go ahead, Mr Mitchell said: “Well we don’t know yet, and no one knows and there’s obviously been a certain amount of spinning going on this morning, but the meeting at which the Speaker will make that decision starts in about 20 minutes.”

Mr Mitchell said the rebel clause was “clearly in order … otherwise it wouldn’t appear on the order paper”.

He said: “I think Mr Speaker will also be conscious in making up his mind that the government has specifically denied the House of Commons a vote on this matter so far, we’ve had to come to a device through amending this Bill, which we think works, and in making his decision he will note that every single member of the House of Commons elected in December 2019 was elected on a promise to stand by this spending commitment, that it’s a legal commitment.”

Tom Batchelor7 June 2021 14:14


Labour criticises Dowden over Ollie Robinson remarks

Labour’s Jo Stevens, the shadow culture secretary, has criticised Oliver Dowden for wading into the row over the suspension of Ollie Robinson for a series of offensive tweets.

Ms Stevens said: “It is right that the ECB takes the action that they think is necessary and appropriate to tackle racism and other forms of discrimination in their sport.

“They should not be criticised for doing so by the secretary of state.”

Tom Batchelor7 June 2021 14:09


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Tom Batchelor7 June 2021 13:55


No 10 refuses to condemn supporters who booed players taking the knee

Boris Johnson’s spokesman has also refused to condemn supporters who booed players for taking the knee in protest at racial injustice.

He said the prime minister “supports individuals’ rights to protest” and that Mr Johnson “fully respects the right of people in this country to peacefully protest and make their feelings known about injustices”.

Asked whether the PM was refusing to criticise supporters who boo the gesture, the spokesman said: “No… the prime minister is supporting the England football team and wants them to succeed and he wants the whole country to get behind them in that endeavour in this tournament.”

Tom Batchelor7 June 2021 13:36


PM backs minister’s claim that racism suspension was ‘over the top’

Downing Street said Boris Johnson backed Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden’s assessment that English cricket’s governing body had gone “over the top” in its response to the Ollie Robinson row.

The PM’s official spokesman said Mr Johnson was “supportive” of the culture secretary’s comments.

“As Oliver Dowden set out, these were comments made more than a decade ago, written by someone as a teenager, and for which they have rightly apologised,” the spokesman said.

Robinson’s comments were made less than a decade ago.

Tom Batchelor7 June 2021 13:23


No 10 hints foreign aid could exceed 0.5% amid anger at cut

Downing Street has hinted that aid spending could exceed the downgraded target of 0.5 per cent of gross national income when the donation of coronavirus vaccines is taken into account.

The prime minister’s spokesman said: “You can expect the PM to set out more details at the G7 this week on the UK’s plans to share surplus doses with developing countries.

“As is standard, any funding that benefits poverty reduction in developing countries would count as ODA (Official Development Assistance) funding.”

Asked if it would be on top of the existing aid budget, the spokesman said: “The £10bn has been largely allocated in the spending plans already set out with regards to ODA funding, but I’m not going to jump ahead of what the PM might say later this week with regards to the commitment.”

Pressed if vaccine donations count as ODA spending, the spokesman said: “The £458m we spent on Covax so far is ODA. That is factually the case.”

Tom Batchelor7 June 2021 13:10


G7 global tax proposal barely registers with tech giant investors

The UK and other G7 countries agreed over the weekend to back a minimum global corporate tax rate of at least 15 per cent.

That is aimed at directing more of the tax revenues of multinational companies to the markets where they are operating.

But shares in US technology giants barely reacted on Monday to the landmark deal.

Analysts have said it will take the backing of low-tax nations to have any meaningful impact on the companies’ bottomlines.

Those countries include Ireland, whose economy has been booming with the influx of billions of dollars in investment from multinationals due to lower taxes.

Shares of Facebook, Amazon, Apple , Microsoft and Google-parent Alphabet were all down between 0.4 per cent and 0.7 per cent. Europe’s tech stocks index was flat.

Tom Batchelor7 June 2021 13:06


Dido Harding ‘thinking about’ bid to lead NHS England

The Tory peer who was formally in charge of implementing the government’s widely criticised test and trace programme has revealed she is considering a bid to become the next head of NHS England.

Dido Harding said on Monday that she is “thinking about” applying to succeed Sir Simon Stevens in the role of chief executive of the health service when he steps down later this year.

“I haven’t applied for the NHS job yet and I’m thinking about what I want to do with my life,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.

Read more on this story here:

Tom Batchelor7 June 2021 12:44


Halt scheme to collect and share patient data because of privacy fears, Labour says

A controversial scheme to collect and share patients’ NHS data must be halted because of privacy concerns, Labour is urging the government.

The party echoed medical groups by protesting that people are being kept in the dark about the use of the information on treatments, referrals and appointments over the past 10 years.

The data will be anonymised and its collection will “save lives” by helping to develop cures for serious illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer, health chiefs say.

But there is criticism that it can then be shared with third parties – as well as a lack of public awareness that patients have only until 23 June to opt out.

Tom Batchelor7 June 2021 12:31


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