With Cameron and Mitchell delaying legislation to enshrine the 0.7% aid target yet again – this time by three more years – it has once again fallen to Labour and Co-operative MPs to provide leadership.
The Coalition ‘Programme for Government’ agreed in 2010 that it would match Labour’s pledge to pass legislation committing the UK to spending 0.7 per cent of GNI on international development. Time after time this government has failed to outline when it will introduce that legislation. Despite promising to pass the law in the first session of Parliament it was omitted from the Queen’s speech. And now the DFID business plan for 2012-2015 has now pushed the date back to March 2015.
Ivan Lewis, the shadow international development secretary, said: “David Cameron used the promise of legislation as a key symbol of how he had changed the Tory Party. It has now become a symbol of how he has become a prisoner of the right and is unable to change his party.”
Because of this abdication of leadership Labour now plans to offer cross-party co-operation to get the bill through parliament through a Private Member’s Bill, sponsored by Labour & Co-operative Party MP Mark Hendrick.
Will the government now back the bill?