Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has spoken out about the “disappointing” decision to reject an amendment to protect the 0.7% Gross National Income commitment to international aid. The Speaker of the House ruled that the amendment was out of scope of the Bill under discussion, but urged the Government to bring a binding vote on the matter to Parliament urgently.
The 0.7% spending commitment was a major policy of the Liberal Democrats during the Coalition Government, implemented through a Private Member’s Bill from former MP, Michael Moore.
Commenting on the decision, Mr Carmichael said:
“While I understand and accept his reasons, it is deeply disappointing that the Speaker rejected today’s amendment to protect vital international development spending. We need a binding vote on this matter as soon as possible. The 0.7% pledge was a landmark policy of the Coalition and a major achievement of the Liberal Democrats in government – we need to defend it against a Government that is trying desperately to weasel out of its legal commitments.
“Struggling people around the world have benefitted from the aid the United Kingdom has given – and we have benefitted from the goodwill it has generated for our country. Whatever the practical arguments, however, the simple fact is that we should maintain our aid commitment because it is the right and moral thing to do.”