A Tory peer has resigned from her ministerial post in protest against a cut to the government’s foreign aid budget.
Baroness Liz Sugg tendered her resignation as junior minister for sustainable development shortly after the chancellor announced a temporary reduction of the UK’s foreign aid budget to 0.5% on Wednesday.
In her resignation letter to prime minister Boris Johnson, Baroness Sugg wrote: “It is with sadness that I write to resign from the government.
“Many in our country face severe challenges as a result of the pandemic and I know the government must make very difficult choices in response. But I believe it is fundamentally wrong to abandon our commitment to spend 0.7% of gross national income on development.
“This promise should be kept in the tough times as well as the good. Given the link between our development spend and the health of our economy, the economic downturn has already led to significant cuts this year and I do not believe we should reduce our support further at a time of unprecedented global crises.”
She added: “For me, as for many in our party and the country, it is a source of great pride that the United Kingdom has been a development superpower and contributed so much to the world.
Our support and leadership on development has saved and changed millions of lives.”
Baroness Sugg said that cutting UK aid risked undermining its efforts to promote a “Global Britain” and would “diminish our power to influence other nations to do what is right”.
“I cannot support or defend this decision. It is therefore right that I tender my resignation,” she concluded.