Can Dave win his party round on international aid?

Can Dave win his party round on international aid?

Is this a policy where there’ll be no U-turn?

Almost whenever the public is polled on which areas of government expenditure should be cut Britain’s international aid programme comes near the top.

Yet this, together with the NHS, are two parts of the government’s spending that were specifically ring-fenced at the general election and have continued to maintain their privileged status.

This is in spite of sustained attacks from the tabloids on money being spent overseas at a time of cut-backs at home and a general lack of support from Tory supporters.

This morning Cameron has been speaking at an international vaccine conference where he pledged that Britain would give £814m to help vaccinate children around the world against preventable diseases.

Having seen Cameron talk on the overseas aid issue in the run up to the election this is clearly something he believes strongly and is one area where I cannot see him changing direction. For Dave this is a personal pledge and he can make a very forceful case.

It might not win plaudits on ConHome or at the 1922 Committee but while he’s there Britain will, in spite of all the spending constraints, meet its overseas aid commitments. It could be a brave strategy particularly if the economy doesn’t recover.

Mike Smithson

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