BORIS Johnson has dodged a Tory revolt over foreign aid cuts after the rebels’ ambush flopped in Parliament this afternoon.
Theresa May was leading a gang of Conservative backbenchers trying to force the PM to reverse £4billion of cuts to the international aid budget.
They planned to strike in a crunch vote tonight by piggybacking their demands onto another bill about a new high-tech research project.
But Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle snuffed out their attack on a technicality, insisting it was not relevant and so should not be debated.
Furious rebels insist they would have defeated the Government if given the chance – and put the PM on notice they will not be backing down.
They want ministers to restore the foreign aid budget to 0.7 per cent of GDP after it was slashed to 0.5 per cent in a raft of Covid savings.
After their plot was thwarted, ringleader MP Andrew Mitchell said: “The Government frontbench is treating the House of Commons with disrespect.
“They are avoiding a vote on the commitments that each of us made individually and collectively at the last general election, on a promise made internationally, and in the opinion of some of Britain’s leading lawyers the Government is acting unlawfully.”
He said the PM would have suffered his first Commons defeat since storming an 80-seat majority – losing by as much as 20 votes.
Speaker Hoyle said he didn’t pick the rebels’ amendment on the advice of his team of Commons experts.
But he urged the Government to give MPs a say on the thorny issue with a vote soon.
The rebellion threatened to embarrass the PM on the world stage ahead of the meeting of G7 leaders in Cornwall this week.
Colleagues had blasted the rebels and warned they risked costing them voters in Red Wall towns who want to rein in foreign aid spending.