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David Lammy: international aid is a moral imperative

24 November 2022


David Lammy delivers the annual Christian Aid Lecture on Tuesday evening

David Lammy delivers the annual Christian Aid Lecture on Tuesday evening

THE Shadow Foreign Secretary, David Lammy, spoke of the moral imperative of international development in the annual Christian Aid Lecture on Tuesday evening.

Mr Lammy said that the Christian faith that his mother had taught him “has always been, and will always be, central to my values. And I’ll tell you why. It’s because in the example of Jesus we learn of a man willing to challenge power: not simply saying ‘This is sad’ but ‘This is wrong’.”

Calling for a renewed emphasis on the importance of international aid, Mr Lammy said that “gaps — in wealth, in dignity, in power — offend us on a moral level just as much as suffering touches us on an emotional one.”

Mr Lammy set out the Labour Party’s plans to modernise international development: “By innovating the delivery of aid, setting up a new taskforce to co-ordinate private-sector support for development in line with the Government’s priorities, legislating to put climate action at the heart of the aid budget, and leading internationally as a global convener in development, we will shine a light for human progress once again.”

Responding to the speech, the chief executive of Christian Aid, Patrick Watt, said: “In places like East Africa, the climate crisis is triggering increasingly severe and frequent droughts and floods that are destroying homes and habitats. I therefore welcome David Lammy using Christian Aid’s annual lecture to reiterate Labour’s commitment to put climate action at the heart of development, including the importance he gives to loss and damage.”

In August, 44 Anglican bishops from countries in East Africa wrote an open letter to the UK Government calling for more support for the region as it faces a food crisis (News, 31 August).

Also in August, Christian Aid published a report, Ripping Off the Band-aid, that branded the international response to the food crisis as “hugely inadequate”, and argued that the existing model of international aid, with its cycles of appeals and crisis funding, was not equal to the task of breaking the cycle of food insecurity.

On Tuesday, Mr Watt said that he endorsed a “new vision for international development” that “shifts power and resources into the hands of affected communities”.

Earlier this month, the Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, and the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, along with Christian Aid, criticised the Government for not returning the international aid budget to 0.7 per cent (News, 17 November).

Watch the lecture here

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