UK foreign minister dismisses report on diverting aid spending to defense

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson chairs a Cabinet meeting

LONDON (Reuters) – British foreign minister Dominic Raab said a media report that Britain was seeking to divert aid spending to defense and intelligence projects was “tittle tattle”, and that the government remained committed to its aid target.

“There’s a load of tittle tattle, rather colorful, in the media,” he said in an interview. “I’m not going to prejudice the comprehensive spending review but we’re absolutely committed to helping the bottom billion, to making sure we link up with our wider foreign policy goals, most obviously climate change.”

The Times newspaper reported finance minister Rishi Sunak was seeking to divert billions of pounds from foreign aid to pay for upgrades to Britain’s intelligence and defense capabilities.

Asked if the government’s pledge to spend 0.7% of GDP on aid and development would be honored Raab said: ” Oh, absolutely … It’s a manifesto commitment, it’s written into law.”

(Reporting by William James; editing by Kate Holton)

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