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Tom Brake

Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington


Brake challenges Blair to walk the talk on development aid and arms exports

March 31, 2004 12:00 AM

Liberal Democrat International Development spokesman Tom Brake challenged the Prime Minister on his Government's record on development aid and arms exports when Mr Blair addressed the All Party Parliamentary Group on Africa today.

Mr Brake said, "I challenged the Prime Minister to grasp the nettle on overseas aid and set a firm deadline for meeting the UN target of spending 0.7 per cent of GNI on overseas aid. The Prime Minister 's response was at best lukewarm. He talked about the risks of 'pitching the level [of spending] unrealistically high.' Mr Blair's reluctance to commit his Government to a bold target is hardly consistent with his ambitions for Africa."

The Prime Minister's response to the ongoing furore over the export of arms and arms components to conflict-torn African countries was to concede that the issue forms part of the remit of the Commission for Africa.

Mr Brake, who has raised the issue of arms exports twice in Prime Minister's Questions said, "This is an important acknowledgment by the Prime Minister but until the loophole is actually closed, it will continue to undermine the Government's good intentions in Africa."