Asked a number of questions on whether the government would support the proposed Private Members’ Bill on commitment to foreign aid spend, the PMS said that he would expect the government to take the same supportive position as it had with previous similar bills on the same issue. Asked whether there would be a government whip on the bill, the PMS said that the precise Parliamentary arrangements would be for the government to decide in the period ahead of the bill.
Asked why the government did not include a bill on aid spend in the Queen’s Speech, the PMS referred to the point that the PM made in the Commons at the time - that there have to be choices made on the Queen’s Speech agenda, particularly because this is a shorter Parliamentary term due to the start of the General Election campaign.
The government had already met, through decisions taken in the Spending Review, the 0.7% commitment to aid spend - and that commitment is at the heart of the government’s development policy. Asked whether the PM was supportive of the principle of commitment on aid spend, the PMS said that the PM was supportive of all the principles in the coalition agreement.