The second question from the audience at last week’s Louth hustings - on the subject of the foreign aid budget - led to the most heated part of the proceedings, with Labour’s Matt Brown going head to head with UKIP’s Colin Mair.
An audience member asked the panel: “What do you think of UKIP’s suggestion that we should drastically reduce foreign aid and stop helping some of the poorest people in the world?”
Romy Rayner (Greens) said that her party would increase foreign aid to one per cent, while Victoria Atkins said she had concerns that the current international aid budget, which is 0.7 per cent of GDP, is not always spent as well as it could be. These concerns were echoed by Daniel Simpson (Lincolnshire Independent) and Peter Hill (Monster Raving Loony Party).
Matt Brown said he was proud that parties worked together to retain the current foreign aid budget, calling it a “moral responsibility” to those less fortunate.
Colin Mair said: “I sincerely believe that foreign aid is poor people from rich countries giving money to rich people in poor countries”. He added that he had seen the effects of poor distribution while in Nigeria.
“It is a vanity project, and it needs bringing under control”, added Mr Mair.
As an audience member began to shout out, Mr Mair’s voice raised as he said: “Don’t send billions and billions out there, thoughtlessly, of money we’re actually borrowing - it isn’t our money!”
Matt Brown leapt to his feet, pointing at Mr Mair, and demanded: “Do not yell at this audience. They deserve better.
“The mask is slipping, ladies and gentlemen.”
Mr Mair replied: “Do not point at me - I have no mask. I am who I am”, to which Mr Brown promptly replied: “And you should be ashamed.”
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