Ivan Lewis MP, Labour’s Shadow International Development Secretary, responding to reports today on David Cameron’s comments on international aid, said:
“David Cameron’s comments on aid and defence spending are a cynical attempt to appease his right wing backbenchers and another example of his weak leadership. One day, he claims credit for honouring Labour’s 0.7 aid spending commitment. The next, he seeks to pander to Tory MPs who are implacably opposed to this policy.
“Labour supports a coordinated approach to tackling conflict which brings together defence, diplomacy and development. But as Cameron’s own No 10 aides have acknowledged, UK aid money can only be legitimately used for security, demobilisation and peacekeeping. The major proportion of it must continue to be used to alleviate poverty, improve basic services and support job creation, all of which are central to ending conflicts everywhere.
“Cameron’s attempt to suggest aid money can be used to offset deep defence cuts is misleading and will not stand up to scrutiny.”