How did St Albans and Harpenden MPs vote on cutting foreign aid?

How did MPs Daisy Cooper and Bim Afolami vote on foreign aid cuts?

How did MPs Daisy Cooper and Bim Afolami vote on foreign aid cuts? - Credit: Archant

Boris Johnson won a narrow victory in Parliament yesterday as MPs voted to cut the foreign aid budget by £4 billion - but how did our MPs vote?

MPs voted for the cut by 333 to 298, with 24 Conservative MPs from across the country voting against the cut.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak told concerned MPs that the cut would only be temporary until Britain has begun to recover from the economic woes of the pandemic.

St Albans MP Daisy Cooper voted against the cuts, but neighbouring Harpenden MP Bim Afolami voted in favour.

Mr Afolami said: "This vote was extremely difficult. The UK’s contributions to overseas aid have surpassed that of all major economies with the 0.7 per cent GDP commitment enshrined in law by a previous Conservative government.

"This temporary reduction in overseas aid spending to 0.5 per cent is, of course, due to an understandable review of our fiscal responsibilities following the pandemic and the need to find a balance that enables us to support the most vulnerable both at home and abroad.

"We have a responsibility to our citizens to ensure that national debt levels come under control as quickly as possible, which will strengthen our economy and enable the UK renew its commitment of 0.7 per cent as swiftly as we can.

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"The Chancellor has promised those of us who voted for this temporary measure that he will identify how we can improve the targeting of our aid spending to make our contributions go further. I have emphasised to the Government - both publicly and privately - the importance of ensuring that funding remains available for small, high-impact charities.”

Harpenden resident and political activist Richard Scott said: "It came as no surprise to anyone who has followed the voting record of Bim Afolami to see him break his 2019 election manifesto commitment on Tuesday, and vote with the Government to reduce UK foreign aid from 0.7% to 0.5% of GDP. 

"In addition, his vote was also a public and flagrant betrayal of Harpenden Spotlight on Africa, a highly-regarded local charity who trusted Mr Afolami as one of their patrons. 

"Mr Afolami claimed in the Commons that this decision was one of "competing political choices". What nonsense. The Government has clearly found money throughout the pandemic to award large Government contracts to companies connected to Conservative party donors and officials.

"Perhaps if the countries and charities benefiting from UK Aid had been wise enough earlier to donate to the Conservative Party, this cut would never have been introduced?

"However, his decision to put his career and party interests first (yet again) should leave no one in Hitchin and Harpenden in any doubt where his loyalties truly lie. The next General Election cannot come quickly enough."

Harpenden Spotlight on Africa has been approached for a comment.