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MP urges minister to reverse cuts to international aid to support countries suffering from Putin’s grain blockade

June 21, 2022 4:49 PM

On the floor of the House of Commons this afternoon, South Lakes MP Tim Farron pleaded with the Foreign Office Minister to restore cuts made to the international aid budget.

It comes as some of the world's poorest countries have been hit by Russia blocking grain exports from Ukraine.

Together, Russia and Ukraine export nearly a third of the world's wheat and barley.

Tim said: "It is very clear that Mr Putin is indeed using the starvation of the world's poorest people as a tool of war.

"As we seek to fight back against Putin and use all diplomatic powers, does the minister agree that it would be easier and of course morally right to build a coalition against Putin across the developing world in particular if we restored the cuts to international aid?"

Responding, the Foreign Office Minister James Cleverly said: "The Right Honourable Gentleman is conflating two fundamentally different issues.

"The world should be clear that is it Vladmir Putin alone that he is creating these problems with his blockade of grain exports to Ukraine.

"He could turn the tap of food to the global south on tomorrow and we demand that he does.

"We'll continue working very closely with our international partners including the United Nations to try and facilitate those grain exports.

"The world should be clear that it's down to him and the Russian blockade of those Black Sea and Azov Sea ports that is creating that hunger and he should be held accountable for it."