Sunday, 12 June 2016

Great to be part of #Sendmyfriend2016 Campaign - this is part of ourcommitment to International Aid

On Monday we debate international aid in the House of Commons: this commitment to 0.7% is one of the plethora of choices that individual politicians, parties, and governments need to make, and I support this. We do not have to do this, but we choose to do so because we are outward looking, we believe that soft power can make a difference both to the lives of others, and to the benefit of our country, and because we rightly lead in the world. I do not believe it is wrong for the uk to give 7 pence in every £10 we make in this way. International aid makes a massive difference. But life is about choices. As the year I spoke to at Richard Coates School know all too well - this is one of the plethora of choices that face us. Below are pictures of my trip to the Nizip refugee camp on the Turkish / Syrian border, a social action trip I volunteered for in January 2014. I followed the British taxpayers money from Whitehall to the camp where 17,000 refugees including 10,000 children were patiently waiting for the Syrian war to end so that they could go back home to their country.

I have seen first hand the impact it can have, whether this is at the Syria Turkish border, where I helped out in the Nizip camp, or in our vaccination campaigns, or in the send my friend to school campaign, which is so fully supported by Richard Coates Church of England Middle School in Ponteland. I have been there several times, at the request of their excellent teacher Miss Pearson, and the children who really take the campaign seriously.
So, although the actual day of action is July 1st we juggled diaries around so I could get in early to see the kids and talk to them about the campaign, what I do as an MP, and try and explain our 0.7% commitment to international aid.
There is no doubt that Richard Coates School takes the campaign seriously, I would urge all the parents of the children to ask them about the campaign, what it is we do wth taxpayers money, and get involved in the Send My Friend campaign. If you want to know more about the campaign, which culminates in a final action day on July 1st then look here:
This project has the two key supporters. The British government supports it as part of the international aid budget - of which more below - and this is a key part of the support given by the European Union, again partly with our UK contributions. Both of these issues are hotly debated right mow, which is why the visit was all the more worthwhile.

Past examples of successful support is here:
The visit in Friday was timely because on Monday we have a debate in Westminster hall on International Aid. It is fair to say that some people in the country and in all political parties do not support this. I do. I have seen the soft power influence it has. I have also been to the refugees camps on the Syrian Turkish border myself and seen the impact that our international aid can have. For more details and pictures of that trip to the Nizip refugee camp see below.