CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

FOREIGN AFFAIRS – UK AID AND PALESTINIAN SCHOOL TEXTBOOKS – 10 March 2020

Dr Julian Lewis: The House of Commons Library briefing shows that, on 1 April 2018, in response to reports about this sort of material, the Department for International Development’s media team stated:

“DFID is planning to conduct a thorough assessment of the Palestinian curriculum and evidence and if we find evidence of material which incites violence, we will take action.”

That is coming up to two years ago, so I think we ought to have heard something from the Government about this by now.

Jonathan Gullis: I could not agree more with my right hon. Friend. One reason why I wanted to secure the debate is that two years is absolutely too long. We need to ensure that UK aid money – UK taxpayers’ hard-earned money – is used appropriately, for aid and support and not to promote violence and extremism.

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Dr Lewis: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that it is not good enough for a Government to say, “We do not fund this or that directly”, because while we are giving funds to the Palestinian Authority for one thing, we are releasing funds for them to use for other things and therefore indirectly we are subsidising these abuses, even if we are not doing so in a more direct fashion?

Steve McCabe: I do agree. I suspect that every one of us here supports the aid programme, but we do not support the misuse of the aid programme. I am certainly not here to attack the Minister, but I am here to say that we have to guard our own best interests in the way the programme is being applied. I think that is the right hon. Gentleman’s point.