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Guildford Liberal Democrats challenge Angela Richardson MP to keep election promise to world’s poorest 

June 6, 2021 11:30 AM
By Zoe Franklin
Person holding world globe facing mountain (Photo by Porapak Apichodilok from Pexels)

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok from Pexels

Zöe Franklin, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Guildford & Cranleigh, has written to Angela Richardson, Guildford & Cranleigh's Conservative MP, urging her not to break her election commitment on international development spending by voting to abandon the UK's 0.7% of GNI target in a potential vote on 7th June.

In the 2019 General Election, Conservative MPs, including Angela Richardson, stood on a manifesto promise to "proudly maintain our commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of GNI on development".

The Government announced plans in 2020 to cut the development budget from 0.7% to 0.5% of GNI.

On Monday 7 June, if selected by the Speaker, a vote will be held in the House of Commons on whether to reinstate the 0.7% target. Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Guildford & Cranleigh, Zöe Franklin, has challenged Angela Richardson to follow through on her election pledge to support the 0.7% target, and vote to retain it.

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson Zöe Franklin for Guildford & Cranleigh said:

"Guildford & Cranleigh needs an MP who will keep their word. When Angela Richardson stood for Parliament in 2019, she pledged to support the 0.7% target on aid spending. She now has an opportunity to deliver on that promise.

"If Ms Richardson fails to support the target, she will be breaking a promise to the people of Guildford & Cranleigh and to the world's poorest. Every vote will matter - so her decision as to which way she votes on Monday will have a huge impact on the millions of people around the world that need our help. This is especially important when we are in the middle of a global pandemic. If we don't help the world's poorest at this challenging time then the UK's own economic recovery will be delayed.

"The Liberal Democrats have supported international development spending for over sixty years and enshrined the 0.7% target into law in 2015. It is the right thing to do, both for the UK, and those who need our help. On 7th June, Angela Richardson must vote to reinstate the 0.7% target."

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs and International Development Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

"The Conservative Government's decision to cut development spending has done extraordinary damage to Britain's reputation with our allies and partners from across the globe. Now is the time for leadership - but instead, the Conservatives want Britain to hide from its responsibilities during a global pandemic.

"Every Conservative MP stood on a manifesto commitment to the 0.7% target. If they vote to cut the development budget next week, they will be breaking a promise to their constituents and to the world's poorest.

"Liberal Democrats will vote to reinstate the 0.7% target, which we enshrined in law. International development spending protects the most vulnerable people around the world and gives them a better chance at life.

ENDS


Notes to Editor:

Please see below a letter sent to Angela Richardson MP.

Dear Ms Richardson,

I am writing to you regarding your party's plans to abandon the 0.7% of GNI target for international development spending.

This month the eyes of the world are on the UK, as we host the G7 summit in Cornwall. The last two times the UK has hosted the G7/G8 - in 2005 and in 2013 - we have used our platform on the world stage to advocate that the world's largest economies should meet their obligations to the world's poorest. Yet this year, the Conservatives are shirking from our legal and moral responsibilities, in the middle of a global pandemic. This does huge damage to Britain's reputation.

In 2019, you stood on a manifesto promise to "proudly maintain our commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of GNI on development". But, despite the commitment, you made to the people of Guildford & Cranleigh your party has tried to force through a cut to our development spending and abandoned the 0.7% target.

However, now there is an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you will stand by the commitment you made in 2019. On Monday 7 June, a vote will likely be held in Parliament on whether to reinstate the 0.7% target. If selected, it is of utmost importance that this vote succeeds. How you vote will make a huge difference. You could be the person that ensures that the UK does meet its commitments to protect millions of the most vulnerable people around the world - from war zones like Yemen to supporting girls' education.

If you vote to cut our development spending, you will be breaking a promise to your constituents and to the world's poorest. Will you commit to vote to retain the 0.7% target this Monday?

Liberal Democrats have been making the case for UK development spending for almost sixty years. It's not just the morally right thing to do, it's the sensible step to take. As the pandemic has taught us, we are not safe until we are all safe. That's why we enshrined the 0.7% target in law in 2015. And that's why all Liberal Democrat MPs will stand by their manifesto promises to their constituents, and vote to reinstate the target on 7th June.

I urge you to do likewise - to vote to reinstate the 0.7% target, fulfilling your promise to the people of Guildford & Cranleigh and helping millions of people around the world.

Yours sincerely,

Z Franklin signature

Zöe Franklin
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Guildford & Cranleigh