The SNP’s leader in the Commons has questioned Boris Johnson over his ability to be a “moral” leader following remarks by Theresa May.
Blackford also asked Johnson if he would overturn cuts to Britain’s foreign aid budget during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs).
“This morning the former prime minister accused the current prime minister of abandoning moral responsibility on the world stage by slashing the UK’s international aid,” Blackford said while mentioning the end of Donald Trump’s time in the White House.
“So, if today is to be a new chapter, if today is to be a new start, will the prime minister begin by reversing his cruel policy of cutting international aid for the world’s poorest?”
Johnson said Britain had always been a “global leader” and was about to “embark on quite a phenomenal year, with the G7 and the COP26.”
“We’ve already led the world for the GAVI summit for global vaccination. We were the first country in the world to set a target of net-zero target emissions by 2050. All other countries are following and we hope president Biden can follow us.”
This follows an article by May in the Daily Mail claiming Johnson’s threat to override Britain’s treaty obligations in the Brexit divorce settlement risked signalling a “retreat” from the UK’s global commitments.
She also strongly his decision to drop the commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on international aid.
“To lead we must live up to our values,” she said.
“Threatening to break international law by going back on a treaty we had just signed and abandoning our position of global moral leadership as the only major economy to meet both the 2% defence spending target and the 0.7% international aid target were not actions which, in my view, raised our credibility in the eyes of the world.
“Other countries listen to what we say not simply because of who we are, but because of what we do. The world does not owe us a prominent place on its stage.
“Whatever the rhetoric we deploy, it is our actions which count. So, we should do nothing which signals a retreat from our global commitments.”