Chris Elmore, Welsh Labour MP for Ogmore, has flatly condemned the Prime Minister’s decision to abolish the Department for International Development, calling it “a distraction from the pressing issues at hand”.
Rumours of the department’s demise have circulated for years and Downing Street has now confirmed that the UK Government intends to fold DfID into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Secretary of State for International Development is set to be “retired” from her duties in September.
Leader of the Opposition, Keir Starmer MP, said the decision “diminishes Britain’s place in the world” and several leading aid charities have raised serious concerns about the Prime Minister’s plan.
Chris Elmore MP said:
“When the world’s poorest are exposed to a global health crisis, abolishing the Department for International Development is about as counterproductive a decision as you can get.
“It is frankly shameful that Boris Johnson is starting a Whitehall shakeup in a brazen attempt to distract from the serious questions he and his government needs to answer around the coronavirus pandemic. He should stop trying to deflect attention and get on with the urgent public health and economic challenges we are in.”
The Prime Minister announced his plan to scrap the department in a statement to MPs entitled “Global Britain” on Tuesday (16 June). Since then, the proposal has been heavily criticised by figures from across the political spectrum, including former Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, and former Labour Prime Ministers, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
“We’re told this is all part of the UK Government’s so-called “Global Britain” strategy. Appearing to turn our backs on developing countries just as the fragility of our planet is being exposed to us all in the starkest of terms makes a mockery of this strategy and of our country’s standing in the world.”