Rishi Sunak faces a close vote on Tuesday on his £ 4 billion cut to the foreign aid budget, with rebel Tories threatening to join Labor in voting against the change.
The government refused to allow a vote after the president said last week that the House of Commons must have a say in the decision to cut the aid budget from 0.7% to 0.5% of gross national income.
A group of up to 50 Tory MPs and all opposition parties have expressed deep concern over the cut, which charities say will result in death and suffering in other countries dependent on the contribution of UK foreign aid.
However, the government hopes to have reduced the number of Tory rebels by setting conditions under which the aid budget will rise again to 0.7%.
Sunak issued a written statement on Monday evening, setting out his argument for the change to be a temporary measure that would rise again to 0.7% when there was no more borrowing for day-to-day expenses and debt undercut. current was diminishing.
He said the government would respect the consequences of the vote, with spending falling to 0.7% of gross national income in the next fiscal year if MPs reject his proposals.
“If the House approves the motion, recognizing the need to manage public finances responsibly and maintain strong investments in national public services like the NHS, schools and the police, then the government will continue the approach set out in this statement, “said the Chancellor. mentionned.
“However, if the House were to defeat the motion, rejecting the government’s assessment of the fiscal position, the government would therefore revert to devoting 0.7% of GNI to international aid in the next calendar year, and with likely consequences for the fiscal situation, including taxation and ongoing public expenditure plans.
It is unclear how the group of 50 rebel Tory MPs will vote on the motion, but it is likely to be tight.
Andrew Mitchell, the former Tory development secretary who is one of the main opponents of the cut, said: “Every member in the House of Commons has stood on a very clear pledge to stand by 0.7% . What is on offer may not bring Britain back to the engagement for decades to come. I urge my colleagues to keep their promise and avoid hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths by voting against tomorrow’s motion.
David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, and another leader of those who reject the change, said even some ministers had privately encouraged the rebels to overturn the government’s decision.
He said Sunak’s proposal was “not good enough” and that the impact would likely be the deaths of 100,000 children.
Davis said he thought the government offered the vote because he realized the rebels would continue to press. “We will not give up,” he said.
Conservatives opposed to the move said they believed the government would “turn the screws” on many colleagues overnight to persuade them to vote for their motion, predicting the vote could be tight.
Announcing the vote in parliament, Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the Commons, said: “It will be a yes or no answer. Does this house want a reasonable control of public finances? Does he recognize that there are limits to what we can do?
“Or, on the other hand, do we want to push our hard-pressed taxpayers even further? That will be the question of tomorrow’s debate.
The government is also under pressure from a group of philanthropists, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, who said over the weekend they would provide emergency funding of £ 93.5million to cover some of the British aid cuts.