The Opposition Liberal Democrats question Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to appoint Priti Patel as secretary for international aid because she was a campaigner to abolish DfID as a backbench MP
Mr Tom Brake, Lib Dem Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, said the prime minister appointed the wrong person to fulfill Britain’s commitment to disperse .7 per cent of GNI as foreign aid to support various projects of Department for International Development (DfID).
One of the achievements of former prime minister David Cameron is his effort to allocate about £12 billion as foreign aid. It is fixed at 0.7 per cent of the UK’s gross national income, meeting a target set by the United Nations for wealthy countries.
“Priti Patel wanted to abolish the department she now heads and cast doubt on the purpose of international aid,” the Lib Dem Foreign Affairs Spokesperson said. “Priti Patel’s appointment as DfID lead is deeply concerning for those of us who believe in a liberal, rights-based development agenda.
“Not only has Ms Patel expressed support for the death penalty and voted against same-sex marriage, she has also previously called for DfID to be scrapped and for the development agenda to be solely focused on new private sector investment opportunities.
“As the internationalist party which in Coalition brought in the legislation committing us to 0.7% GNI spending on international development, the Liberal Democrats will be keeping a very close eye on DfID-sceptic Ms Patel as she takes on her new role.”
Conservative MPs were calling for reforms of the British aid programmes. They alleged British aid is being misused by foreign governments as well as spent on large salaries for external consultants. Priti Patel, then a Conservative backbencher, demanded scrapping DfID and replacing it with a trade-focused body to help businesses invest in the developing world.
“A long-term strategic assessment is required, including the consideration to replace DfID with a Department for International Trade and Development in order to enable the UK to focus on enhancing trade with the developing world and seek out new investment opportunities in the global race,” Priti told The Daily Telegraph.
“It is possible to bring more prosperity to the developing world and enable greater wealth transfers to be made from the UK by fostering greater trade and private sector investment opportunities.”