BORIS Johnson is facing an embarrassing Tory rebellion over cuts to foreign aid just days before he hosts G7 leaders in Cornwall.
Spelling potential humiliation for the PM on the world stage, a revolt of Conservative backbenchers including his predecessor Theresa May are trying to force the Government to restore the aid budget.
Ringleaders believe they have the 45 Tory MPs needed to overturn the PM’s hefty majority and are preparing to strike in a vote on Monday.
They are annoyed with ministers for slashing foreign aid spending from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent – about £4billion – and want the cuts reversed.
But furious colleagues are demanding they back down and are warning foreign aid increases will go down terribly with Red Wall voters.
Tory MP Andrew Rosindell, who sits on the Commons foreign affairs committee, told the Sun: “This won’t be popular with the British public.
“When people look at their local services being reduced and the size of the national debt, they won’t want to see this increase.”
Urging the rebels to desist, he added: “If you ask the Red Wall voters they won’t want to see this.”
Victory for the rebels would inflict the first major defeat for the PM in the Commons, prompting speculation of a Government climbdown.
Ex Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell is leading the rebellion that includes big beasts David Davis, Jeremy Hunt and Karen Bradley.
The ambush, first reported by the BBC, threatens to damage the PM before a crunch two-day summit of G7 leaders in Carbis Bay, Cornwall on Friday.
Britain is already facing criticism from allies for curbing aid spending abroad.
Rebel Tobias Ellwood said this morning: “Here we are hosting a summit to address these issues but choosing to cut the aid budget.”
Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said: “The Conservative Government should do the right thing and reverse this cut.”
The Government said Covid-19 had “forced us to take tough but necessary decisions” on foreign aid.