The reason is this. If MPs asked their constituents where they believe that charity begins at home, there would be unanimous agreement that it does.
However it does not necessarily end there. If the same politicians asked voters if they were happy for taxpayers’ money to be spent feeding and nursing some of the world’s most under-nourished children, an overwhelming majority would also answer in the affirmative.
Yet the fact that Boris Johnson is under so much pressure on this issue in the crucial days before he hosts the G7 is three-fold.
First, the Tory party’s 2019 manifesto included a specific commitment to maintain aid spending at 0.7 per cent of GDP.
Second, a failure of successive governments to articulate a positive case for foreign aid and why it should, in fact, be a cornerstone of Global Britain and effective deployment of soft power.
Finally, the impact of the Covid pandemic here has overshadowed the virus’s devastating effects on the developing world.
As Tony Blair said so persuasively at the weekend, the global recovery from the pandemic will continue to be compromised until the most vulnerable are vaccinated. He set out a two-stage plan, starting with inoculating people in the most vulnerable areas, by the end of this year and Mr Johnson should be looking to replicate this ambition if Global Britain rhetoric is to have any substance.
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