Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Party Line Challenge Leaves MP Red-Faced

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Party Line Challenge Leaves MP Red-Faced

Article excerpt

Byline: Sean Seddon Sunderland Reporter

THREE Labour councillors in Sunderland have left their local MP candidate red-faced after appearing to directly challenge her position on the issue of international aid spending.

A leaflet has been distributed containing a section calling in to doubt the policy of spending 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) on international aid, a long-time Labour party policy.

But the reverse side of the leaflet contains an election pitch from Bridget Phillipson, the Houghton and Sunderland South candidate and MP since 2010, who is supportive of the spending target.

The leaflet was distributed in the name of the area's three Labour councillors, Darryl Dixon, Gillian Galbraith and Stuart Porthouse.

St Chad's covers the neighbourhoods of Farringdon, Herrington and Lakeside Village in the Sunderland City Council area.

The section questioning the international aid spending is titled "Food for thought: Has the government got this right?".

It reads: "Foreign aid spending is set to outstrip the money given [sic] to councils to run local services throughout the country such as child welfare, adult social care, refuse collection, street lighting etc, etc. "With councils under massive pressure from government cuts, which are set to continue through to 2020, the Tory government committed the UK to providing 0.7% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to international development and estimates predict this could be as high as PS14.2 Billion by 2020.

"The estimated effect of the cuts over the same period could reduce the total funding available to councils across the country to about half of this figure."

It concludes by saying: "Why are we given [sic] aid to such countries as India and Pakistan, which have enough money to fund space programmes?".

The line about "space programmes" is reminiscent of UKIP's 2015 manifesto which pledged to slash the overseas aid budget and used the same justification. …

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