Afghanistan: Blackford urges Raab to reverse foreign aid cuts during heated Commons exchange

DOMINIC RAAB has been accused of having “no dignity or self respect” by the SNP’s Westminster leader.

Speaking during the Commons debate, Ian Blackford MP criticised the UK Government’s cut to foreign aid while the Foreign Secretary waved him away.

A heated exchange took place during the session, where Mr Blackford repeatedly called for the UK Government to reverse its cuts to foreign aid in light of the crisis in Afghanistan, and also criticised the “inadequate” Afghan resettlement scheme announced last night.

The scheme aims to accept 5000 refugees from the Taliban-controlled country in the first year, and up to 20,000 ‘long term’.

Mr Blackford said there should be double this number, at least, given refuge in the UK and said he was committing his party, and the Scottish Government, to work with Westminster to achieve it.

Nicola Sturgeon has also urged the UK Government to set amore ambitious target, tweeting earlier that the current scheme was “woefully inadequate”.

Mr blackford said: “There can be little doubt that the chaos and the crisis been inflicted upon the Afghan people is the biggest foreign policy failure of modern times, the sheer scale of that political failure is only matched by the humanitarian emergency that it has now unleashed.”

Turning to foreign aid, he said: “This crisis has also thrown into sharp focus the disaster of the Overseas Development cuts rammed through before the summer recess.

“When the prime minister talks about the increase in spending in Afghanistan, it still doesn’t take us to the level of spending that was previously committed.”

“These cuts to overseas aid where immoral and shameful before this humanitarian emergency.”

Mr Raab then appeared to interject, with Mr Blackford saying: “I think, I’m afraid the person that’s not listening, and maybe he is still on holiday, is the foreign secretary, because you haven’t taken the spending back to the level where it was.”

Mr Raab then mouthed “We’re doubling it” before waving away Mr Blackford.

The MP continued: “No you’re not doubling it…

“I think it is important that the cuts to overseas aid in their entirety are now reversed.

“While the rest of us were doing what we can over the last few days the foreign secretary was lying on a sunbed, so I’m not going to take any lectures from someone like that.

“People are facing the worst situation imaginable, and you have a foreign secretary sitting laughing and joking on the government front bench. A foreign secretary who should be ashamed of himself, who has demonstrated that he has no dignity whatsoever.”

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992