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SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford tried to hit out at Boris Johnson’s foreign aid budget. He questioned whether the Prime Minister will stick to the target of 0.7 percent. Mr Johnson furiously hit back as he explained it was the Conservative Government which launched the budget.
Speaking in the Commons, Mr Blackford said: “The foreign aid budget has been a source of unity across the four nations of the UK.
“In the last general election every party committed to helping the world’s poorest and most vulnerable.
“The senior Government minister said, ‘it paved the way for Britain to make the UN target spending 0.7 percent on national spending and aid and that remains our commitment’.
“Does the Prime Minister agree with that senior Government minister?”
Mr Johnson said: “Listening to members opposite talking about the 0.7 you would think they invented it.
“It was the Conservative Government. I think this country can be incredibly proud of what we have delivered for the poorest and neediest people in the world.
“This country is one of the biggest investors and donors overseas.
“I think we’re the second biggest in the G7 on any view and that will continue.”
Mr Blackford continued: “We need to recognise that COVID-19 is a global pandemic and while we are all in the same storm, some nations have better life rafts.
“The royal bank estimates that the pandemic will push up to 850 million people into extreme poverty.
“In the world’s poorest countries, hunger and cases of malaria are rising and the UN projects that almost 11 million girls may never return to education after school closures.
“The UK Government cannot eradicate the threat of COVID-19 if there is still a threat around the world.
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“Does the Prime Minister agree with me that keeping the commitment of 0.7 percent is not only the right thing to do but is the sensible thing to do in helping with the eradication of COVID-19?”
Mr Johnson replied: “Of course I agree that the UK should be playing a leading role in eradicating COVID-19 around the world.
“That’s why one of the wonderful features of the Oxford-Astrazenca vaccine if approved is it will be sold at cost around the world.
“I wonder whether he knows quite how much the UK has given to Covax, the global vaccine alliance.
“It’s more than virtually any country in the world. We should be proud in this country of what we’re doing.”
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