Michael Moore 1 Tory Game Players 0 – International Aid bill clears the Commons despite Tory shenanigans

It all got a bit nail-biting yesterday. The House of Commons was going to shut at 2:30 no matter what and a few determined Tories were planning on making sure that Michael Moore’s Bill to shrine the 0.7% of GDP international aid target into law died a death just like Sarah Teather’s on revenge evictions did last week.

In the end, a couple of enterprising Tories tried to talk it out but there were more than enough MPs who supported the Bill to put an end to their parliamentary games and the Bill passed the last of its Commons stages. It now goes to the Lords where our Liberal Democrat Minister Lindsay Northover will be one of those piloting it through. 

Michael Moore had this to say at the Bill’s 3rd Reading:

The Bill matters because UK aid—from emergency relief and humanitarian assistance to capacity-building and economic development—saves lives and transforms lives. By enshrining this commitment in law, the parties represented in the Chamber honour the election commitments of 2010, and the coalition honours the coalition agreement; but what is perhaps more important is that we give predictability to our aid expenditure, critically for our partners and for the recipients of the assistance. We show leadership internationally, which can be used to press other rich countries to join us, the first G7 country to reach the United Nations target, and we move the debate forward to focus on how we allocate our official development assistance, not how much we spend on it. I recognise the need for the expenditure to be properly scrutinised, and the requirement for “independent evaluation” adds to the scrutiny that the House and its Committees provide.

I thank all the Bill’s supporters. There has been cross-party consensus on this issue since the publication of the first draft Bill back in 2010, and campaign groups and non-governmental organisations have given the Bill immense support. I am proud that, today, our country appears to be taking another important step, and doing everything that it should to help the poorest and most vulnerable in the world.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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3 Comments

  • By this aid a few in need will get help but the vast majority lines the pockets of criminal gangs , corrupt officials, corrupt Politian’s and dictators banks accounts. All at the expense of our people who are in need.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 6th Dec '14 - 6:25pm

    So, Tez, what do you say about those NHS staff who have gone out to help the fight against Ebola, those projects that work to stop violence against women and girls, those projects which give clean and safe water supplies to the poorest people, the humanitarian relief sent to Syria?

    Where is your actual evidence that “the vast majority” of our aid money is not well spent?

    My definition of “our people” may be a little wider than yours, but I consider all of humanity to be worthy of help. If you see people in dire need, without the most basic things in life, you help them, regardless of where they come from.

  • Stephen Donnelly 7th Dec '14 - 5:39pm

    Tez and Caron. I have no doubt that many development projects are inefficient and do little to help the poor, whilst emergency aid programme can literally be life savers. The FT this weekend is calling for a re-think of priorities in aid, and I think we would do well to heed that call. If we do not focus on the provision of effective aid, rather than seeking to acheive a fairly arbitrary number, the whole area of expenditure becomes too difficult defend again future Tony/ UKIP attacks in a time of austerity. There are simply too many easy targets where money has been squandered.

    Questioning aid is not evil, but refusing to help those in severe need is.

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