A SOMERSET MP has signed an amendment against the proposal to cut the UK's overseas aid budget.

David Warburton, MP for Somerton and Frome, has joined 30 Conservative MPs to trigger a revolt against the proposed cuts (from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent).

The new clause is a technical amendment enforcing the 2015 International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act, obliging the government to meet a target of 0.7 per cent next year (2022).

The advanced research and invention agency bill reaches the report stage in the House of Commons on Monday, June 7.

The rebels will need 40 MPs in order to defeat the government.

Mr Warburton said the aid budget is of "huge symbolic importance".

"The worth of a commitment is whether or not it is maintained in the face of external challenges," he said.

"It’s vital that the UK does just that – maintains our commitment to the world’s poorest at a time when their plight is exacerbated by Covid-19.

“The UK is the only G7 country cutting aid. The French are set to reach 0.7 per cent, the Germans will exceed 0.7 per cent this year and the Americans are increasing aid by $14 billion.

"The cuts to UK aid represent just one per cent of the Chancellor’s borrowing this year, and the UN says this aid would have helped prevent around 250,000 maternal and child deaths.”

The amendment, in the name of former Development Secretary and former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell and former FCO adviser and newly elected MP Anthony Mangnall, is now backed by 30 Conservative MPs including former Prime Minister Theresa May.

This is in addition to nine Chairs of Commons Select Committees, including the International Development Committee (Sarah Champion), the Foreign Affairs Committee (Tom Tugendhat) and the Defence Committee (Tobias Ellwood).

The vote is happening the same week the UK hosts the G7 summit in Cornwall. During the summit, one of the key themes will be help for poorer countries who are trying to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Mitchell added: "More and more of my colleagues in the House of Commons are supporting this move to stand by our manifesto promise. With our economy returning to growth, there is no justification for balancing the books on the backs of the world’s poor.

"With G7 leaders coming to Britain next week, there is an opportunity for us to reclaim our rightful place on the global stage.

"Britain’s national interest is not being served by the devastating impact these cuts are already having on the ground and the unnecessary loss of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. We urge the government to think again.”