Conservatives to end aid to Russia

By politics.co.uk staff

The Conservatives will end aid to Moscow if they attain power, the shadow development secretary announced today.

Speaking to the party’s conference in Manchester, Andrew Mitchell criticised a government strategy which sees aid go to a country with a GDP of over a trillion dollars and say the Tories will give the money to poorer countries instead.

“Giving aid to Russia is simply ridiculous,” he said.

“This misuse of our aid budget is an insult to our taxpayers and it must come to an end. This is not what the hard-pressed British taxpayer signed up for.

Mr Mitchell pointed out Labour is giving aid to more than 100 different countries and that “too many of these are the wrong countries”.

“Under a Conservative government, that will change,” he added. “We will only give aid to the countries that really need it.”

The move marks a pattern of reassessments concerning the way Labour has chosen to give aid. Last year, Mr Mitchell announced that the Tories would end aid to China.

But the pledge is likely to upset relations with Russia, which receives short shrift from the Conservatives.

Earlier this week shadow defence secretary Liam Fox told a fringe meeting that Russian was a “gangster state”.

“What we’re dealing with in Russia is a gangster state, where the political stakeholders are the same as the property holders, are the same as the economic giants,” he said.

The aid pledge came on the same day shadow foreign secretary William Hague addresses the conference.