Lib Dems use Urgent Question to challenge Govt on DFID merger

Liberal Democrat International Development spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain has today challenged the Foreign Secretary on the “wrongheaded” decision to merge the Department of International Development with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

In an Urgent Question in the House of Commons, Wendy Chamberlain blasted the Prime Minister’s description of DFID as a “cashpoint in the sky”. She also raised mounting concerns about future funding for DFID projects and the risk of job cuts for current DFID staff in the midst of a public health emergency and economic crisis.

Following the Urgent Question Wendy Chamberlain said: “This merger has already been condemned by NGOs and no less than three former Prime Ministers. The Foreign Secretary’s desperate scramble to mention just one NGO that supports the move demonstrates how unpopular it is.

“The fact that the Foreign Secretary came out to defend this wrongheaded decision shows that the Government is railroading this through over the head of the current Secretary of State.

“Instead of committing more resources to DFID projects that help the most vulnerable, this Government seems to prefer to splash cash on paint for the PM’s plane and promotional yachts. The cost of abolishing DFID will be a colossal and counterproductive waste taxpayers’ money.

“The Liberal Democrats will continue to champion the UK’s role as a world leader in providing aid to those most in need – that’s why we need International Development to have a seat at the Cabinet table. This merger puts that focus and effectiveness at risk. The decision does not reflect ‘Global Britain’, but a Government determined to see the UK turn its back on the world.”

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