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No 10 rejects call from speaker to hold vote on cutting aid budgets

Sir Lindsay Hoyle in the House of Commons - Credit: Parliament Live

The government has no plans to give MPs a vote on its decision to cut the overseas aid budget by £4 billion, Downing Street has said.

Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has said MPs should be given an “effective” say over the move to suspend the commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on aid which is enshrined in law.

However, the prime minister’s official spokesman made clear that ministers did not believe a Commons vote was necessary.

“We are acting in accordance with the act as set out. It explicitly envisages the circumstances which we now face which is this global pandemic,” the spokesman said.

“There are certainly no plans to bring forward a vote.”

A government spokesman previously said that its actions were in line with the International Development Act 2015 which explicitly envisaged there may be circumstances when the 0.7% target is not met.

MPs have secured a three-hour emergency debate on Tuesday in which Tory critics – including former prime minister Theresa May – are expected to pile on pressure ahead of this week’s G7 summit in Cornwall.

Any vote after Tuesday’s debate would be non-binding on the Government and purely symbolic.

But the rebel leader, former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell, said that if there had been a vote on the amendment on Monday, the government would have lost by up to 20 – despite a working majority of more than 80.

He told MPs the government was “riding roughshod” over Parliament.

“In the week of the British chairmanship of the G7, the Government’s failure to address this issue will indisputably mean that hundreds of thousands of avoidable deaths will result,” he said.

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