Tory MPs have been urged to “rise up and raise your voices” against the cut in overseas aid in Rishi Sunak’s Spending Review.
Labour’s Jack McConnell urged Conservatives to follow the example of Baroness Sugg who resigned as one of Boris Johnson’s Ministers in protest over the international aid cut.
Johnson faced an embarrassing resignation as the Chancellor confirmed foreign aid will be slashed from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 cent of GDP next year as part of a spending review.
Baroness Sugg, who previously served as Number 10’s head of operations under David Cameron, is a long time supporter of sticking to the target, which the Conservative Party promised to keep in their 2019 election manifesto.
In her resignation letter she told the Prime Minister: “I believe it is fundamentally wrong to abandon our commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of gross national income on development. This promise should be kept in the tough times as well as the good.”
Former Labour First Minister McConnell called on politicians across the spectrum to oppose the move.
He tweeted: “Time to rise up and raise your voices. To cut our investment in tackling climate change, extreme poverty, ill health and conflict by almost one third is more than a broken promise to the poor it is vandalism.”
Nicola Sturgeon described the Government’s overseas aid cut as “a political gesture to the right wing of the Tory party”.
The First Minister tweeted: “The cut to the overseas aid budget is a political gesture to the right wing of the Tory party, and the price of it will be paid by some of the poorest people in the world. Deplorable indeed.”
Ruth Davidson, the former Scottish Tory leader, also contributed, adding to her previous criticism of the plan to cut overseas aid.
Davidson said Sugg’s resignation was representative of widespread Tory discontent on cutting international aid.
She tweeted: “The Treasury has misjudged this. Both in the act, but also believing there weren’t the numbers or the strength of feeling to block legislative change. The commitment to the 0.7 per cent amongst colleagues is real.”