A former Tory leadership contender with links to Perthshire and Angus says a new fund should be set up in the late Queen’s name to help the world’s poorest people.
Rory Stewart called for the UK Government to undo spending cuts and spend billions on the day Elizabeth was laid to rest in a state funeral in London.
The royal family and world leaders gathered at Westminster Abbey where a service was held in her memory.
Mr Stewart said a new government agency aimed at helping those in poorer countries would be a fitting way to pay tribute.
He said: “We should commemorate the Queen’s service and commitment to Britain internationally in a way that changes lives.
“Let’s create a Queen’s Development Agency charged with spending at least 0.7% of British GDP in the most practical and flexible support for the world’s very poorest.”
The ex-Conservative politician ran unsuccessfully against Boris Johnson for his party’s leadership in 2019.
We should commemorate the Queen’s service and commitment to Britain internationally in a way that changes lives. Let’s create a Queen’s Development Agency charged with spending at least 0.7 % of British GDP in the most practical + flexible support for the world’s very poorest.
— Rory Stewart (@RoryStewartUK)
He stepped down as an MP at the general election later that year and became a major critic of the former prime minister.
Mr Stewart claimed that extreme poverty has “dropped off” the UK Government’s list of priorities.
During Mr Johnson’s premiership the Tories reduced the international aid budget by around £4 billion.
Former prime minister and Fife MP Gordon Brown described cuts to foreign aid as a “life or death issue” last year.
The department for international development – which was tasked with tackling poverty – was dissolved and merged with the foreign office.
Some critics on social media responded to Mr Stewart’s suggestion by arguing the UK should focus on domestic poverty instead.
Hitting back, the former MP said: “Even with helping people starving on less than a dollar a day, it seems the rest is always politics.”
Mr Stewart’s father Brian – who was in security agency MI6 – grew up in Angus and later retired to his longtime family home on the outskirts of Crieff, in Perthshire.
The ex-Tory MP also got married in Crieff and had a stint in the Black Watch Scottish military regiment.
Mr Stewart also has ties to the royal family, having worked as a private tutor for Prince William and Prince Harry.
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[Rory Stewart wants UK to honour Queen with agency to tackle global poverty]