The Leader of the House of Commons said the “first duty of the British Government is to its subjects” after Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s decision to slash overseas aid from 0.7 percent to 0.5 percent of gross national income (GNI). He tweeted to his more than 427,000 followers: “The first duty of the British government is to its subjects.
“The Chancellor is providing £4billion of taxpayers’ money to support the economies of the midlands and the north this parliament.”
But furious Twitter users hit back saying the Tories “were not really interested” in working to help disadvantaged families in the UK.
One said: “The first duty of the British government is to its subjects: that’s why disabled people are treated like s***, why we’ve had 70,000 excess deaths so far this year, & why since 2009, the collective wealth of Britain’s richest 1,000 individuals has increased by £450BILLION.”
Another tweeted: “The Tories are not really interested in ‘levelling’ when it comes to disadvantaged working class families.
Jacob Rees-Mogg was hit by backlash
Jacob Rees-Mogg spoke out over the foreign aid cuts
“You had to be publicly shamed by Marcus Rashford who organised real help with the generosity of the public and businesses to help feed children.”
One added: “‘The first duty of the British government is to its subjects.’ So why is it f** us over EVERY day?”
While others took aim at Mr Rees-Mogg for his description of British citizens as “subjects” and reminded him as an MP he “served” members of the public.
One posted: “We’re citizens, not your subjects – you work for us, or at least you should.“I am not your government’s subject Jacob. You are our servants. Governments should be afraid of their people, not the other way around. Your use of that word suggests you have ideas above your station.”
The overseas aid budget has been slashed from 0.7 percent to 0.5 percent of gross national income (GNI)
Another told the Tory Brexiteer: “We are subjects when referred to by the monarchy.“YOU are actually OUR servants. You’d do well to remember that.”
A Twitter user said: “Subjects? Jacob old chap – you and your Government work for us, the citizens of the UK.”
One added: “The first duty of a British Govt is NOT to its subjects, but to its citizens.
“I would have thought you might know this. You serve us. We do not serve you.”
The fury erupted after Mr Rees-Mogg responded to Mansfield MP Ben Bradley MP who told Parliament via video link: “The UK will welcome the diversion of foreign aids to UK priorities at this difficult time when we know there’s lots of support needed here at home.
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GNI in 2019 was £2.17 trillion, meaning a drop from 0.7 percent to 0.5 percent would account for more than £4 billion
Rishi Sunak has been forced to defend his decision to cut foreign aid
“I believe turning £4 billion of money sent abroad into £4 billion of levelling up funds for our most disadvantaged is communities is the right move.”
The Tory Brexiteer responded by saying: “I absolutely agree with him, I think that people will very much welcome the announcement made by the Government – other than possibly a few Islingtonians. The government takes its responsibility the people of the north and Midlands very seriously, many of whom placed their trust in the Conservatives for the first time last December.
“My Rt Hon Friend the Chancellor announced in the spending review yesterday that the Government is launching a new levelling up fund worth £4billion in England, which will attract £800million in the usual way through the Barnet formula for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“Our new fund will build infrastructure, everyday lives, new bypasses, upgraded railway stations and better high streets and town centres.”
UK foreign aid spending mapped
It comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak insisted Britain is not turning its back on the world’s poorest people as he defended the Government’s plan to cut the foreign aid budget amid a growing Tory backlash.
Mr Sunak admitted it was a “difficult decision” but said the UK is in the midst of an “economic emergency”.
A number of prominent Conservatives publicly expressed concern at the move, announced in Wednesday’s Spending Review, which reneges on a manifesto commitment.
Foreign Office minister Baroness Sugg quit in protest against the plan, while former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell said the change will cause “100,000 preventable deaths, mainly among children”.
But in an interview with Sky News, Mr Sunak said: “I don’t think anyone could characterise our level of support for the poorest countries as turning our back.
“We’ll be spending more as a percentage of GDP than France, Canada, the US, Japan.”
GNI in 2019 was £2.17 trillion, meaning a drop from 0.7 percent to 0.5 percent would account for more than £4 billion.