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Scotland: Tory leader branded ‘morally indefensible’ over international aid cuts

THE leader of Scotland’s Conservatives was branded “morally indefensible” today after falling in line with the decision of his party’s Westminster leadership to slash international aid. 

Douglas Ross, who sits as both an MSP and MP and also works as a football linesman, was accused of abandoning those most in need after all of Scotland’s Tory MPs backed plans that could lead to an indefinite reduction in overseas aid spending from 0.7 per cent of gross national income (GNI) to 0.5 per cent. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said that the cut will only be restored only when the public finances improve.

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie reminded the six Tory MPs, including Mr Ross, that the party stood on a manifesto to protect aid spending less than two years ago.

He said: “Douglas Ross’s actions are morally indefensible.

“This is someone who says he wants to give leadership to the country, but when push comes to shove, he pitifully fell in line with Boris Johnson to vote for these vicious cuts, as did his sad little band of Scottish Tory MPs.

“The UK is one of the world’s wealthiest countries. It should be supporting those most in need so that we are better able to deal, as a global community, with challenges like Covid and the climate crisis.

“Instead, its government has chosen to shamefully abandon those most in need.”

The decision, which was narrowly approved by MPs on Tuesday evening, has been branded a disaster for the world’s most impoverished people.

Romilly Greenhill, UK director of the anti-poverty One campaign, said: “Today’s result is a needless retreat from the world stage, enforced by the Treasury, at the exact moment the UK should be showing leadership and stepping up to the greatest global crises in our lifetimes.”

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