A CHRISTIAN anti-poverty campaigner has leapt to the defence of UK Prime Minister David Cameron amid claims his own party do not back him on Overseas Aid.
Joel Edwards, International Director of Micah Challenge, praised Mr Cameron for keeping his pledge to increase aid to the poorest countries to 0.7% of national income by 2013.
He also attacked calls for money to be taken away from Overseas Aid and put into the UK's Defence budget.
Joel, a senior Christian leader in the UK, was responding to claims by ex-Government Minister Gerald Howarth who said he has not met one single Conservative MP who supports the Prime Minister's stance on foreign aid.
Joel said: "Perhaps Mr Howarth doesn't see that overseas aid, wisely spent, helps to create stability, jobs and democracy. Good aid will mean less conflict and fewer wars.
"Good on Mr Cameron. He may be in a minority in his own party but the important thing is that he is keeping a promise made by the UK Government in 2000.
"It is a moral stance and absolutely the right one but the UK government still has some work to do in making sure that the money is directed to the most needy poor and is backed by higher levels of accountability and transparency.
"And we should keep to our Overseas Aid commitments at the same time of being very aware of poverty in the UK."
Back in 2000, world leaders agreed on the Millennium Development Goals - promises to the world's poor to halve extreme poverty by 2015.
Micah Challenge was formed in 2004 to mobilise the world's Christians to advovate on behalf of the poor and remind world leaders of their promises. Micah are now stepping up their campaign to ensure millions of people are taken out of poverty.
Joel added that keeping promises to the poor also makes good economic and business sense.
He said: "African economies are growing at around 12 per cent a year and the UK could benefit from selling our goods to an increasingly prosperous continent.
"Hopefully Mr Cameron's stance will encourage countries like Italy, Japan, the US and Germany to follow suit. At the moment they are failing the world's poorest people."
For more on Micah Challenge see www.micahchallenge.org
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