Coffee House

Andrew Mitchell: ‘Rogue minister’ claims on Rwanda aid ‘offensive’

8 November 2012

12:58 PM

8 November 2012

12:58 PM

Andrew Mitchell emerged from his post-resignation exile on the backbenches this morning to defend his decision to sign off on a £16 million aid cheque to Rwanda on his last day in the International Development department. The former chief whip was summoned before the International Development select committee, where he described as ‘offensive’ the suggestion that he acted as a ‘rogue minister’ in funding development in the country.

Mitchell told the committee that Britain’s aid programme to Rwanda had been suspended because of concerns that its president Paul Kagame was funding rebel group M23 in the country’s neighbour, the Democratic Republic of Congo. He said the Prime Minister had asked that aid only be reinstated if three conditions were met. When those conditions were ‘partially met’, the programme resumed. ‘The decisions were made entirely properly through cross-government consultation’, he said, adding:

‘The press have sort of suggested that a rogue minister can sign cheques under the bed clothes and bung them out to dubious leaders. That is completely untrue. It is very insulting. I take deep offence at the suggestion that I would ever behave in such a way, but it’s also a tremendous insult to the British civil service, who would never allow such a thing.’

Mitchell may have defended himself robustly – and politely – on this matter, but his successor, Justine Greening, has made clear that she is a reluctant player in what Fraser calls ‘Mitchell’s Millions‘, where Andrew Mitchell’s old department panics not about spending cuts, but about the risk that it could spend under £11 billion a year – or £30 million a day. Her approach to certain aid programmes is already proving to be very different to her predecessor.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • barbie

    I find this news sickening, and beyond the pale. I know an elderly woman aged 70, who fell downstairs and broke her ankle resulting in 12 weeks in plaster. Not to put the foot to the floor for 8 weeks. She applied, after 4 weeks for help from the DWP for Attendant Allowance, and was refused. The excuse, she hadn’t had the condition for the prior six months. How can you have an accident for a prior six months. She reapplied and was refused again. It appears, aid is OK for foreigners but not our own. For someone who worked till she was 65, and was forced to retire even then; and still got another job part-time to supplement her derisiry pension. That is the reality of these cuts, cutting from those who need help urgently for daily survival. Yet people in Africa can look forward to our money which we’ve borrowed to furnish which we and our grandchildren will pay back. Labour and Conservative are no good, and that’s why UKIP are gaining many votes. With this kind of treatment for our elderly the sooner they get stronger the better. This is going way to far.

  • Garyessex

    I agree with Wilhelm and I am writing this from Nairobi – the Kenyan capital of corruption and where two politicians set to stand trial at the ICC are running for president and vice president. DfID really is a money-splurging machine and we must halt its activities.

  • Madame Merle

    The generation who were helped by charity such as Live Aid have produced another umpteen million children.

    If contraception was, oh no, hang on, that would be infringing on their human rights.

  • Daniel Tekel Thomas

    Mitchell illustrates perfectly why the public hold politicians in such contempt.

    He’s uses the usual ‘I’m offended’ defence to deflect attention from the issue. He’s is supposed to be a hard nosed political operator and until his downfall a Chief Whip no less.
    This easily offended wimp is the same oaf that unleashed a foul mouthed tirade a cop for doing his job.
    On giving taxpayer money to his friend, the bloodsoaked African tyrant Paul Kigame of Rwanda, he states that Cameron asked that aid should only be resumed when three conditions were met. ‘Partially met’ is not met but Mitchell gave our money away regardless.
    Maybe he was worried his friend would not meet the conditions after he left the Department and would end up short in his Swiss bank account.

  • In2minds

    Mitchell gives money away like a socialist!

  • Owen_Morgan

    The amount of money wasted today in Whitehall is extraordinary. You have to understand that spending a billion (1,000,000.000) pounds is extremely hard. If a department of state fails to spend its budget, it finds its budget cut. To the civil servant’s mentality, that’s not an argument for spending less, but one in favour of wasting more. Just about every penny directed to the Department for International Development is wasted, but the difference is that that department’s budget is sacrosanct, so it HAS to be spent. Please, someone with a brain, abolish DfID and transfer its budget to the MoD (having previously purged the MoD of its hopeless time-servers,of course).

  • Vulture

    What an odious corrupt creep ..a typical representative of Cameron’s Conservatives.

  • Wilhelm

    Since the 1960s the West has given $ 1 Trillion dollars to Africa, what have we got to show for it ? apart from fake scam emails coming out of Nigeria.

    • HooksLaw

      Since the 1960’s. 1 trillion dollars? 50 years.

      Whats the population of Africa.
      How much has been spent on big macs in that time.

    • Francis

      1 trillion to over 40 countries with hundreds of millions of population, disbursed over a period of 50 years is surely peanuts, amount that could have been spent on one of major universities in the West. This is also insulting to Africans most especially if u compare with slaves, gold, diamonds, ivory, timder plundered from Africa for centuries by the Western countries.

      • Daveyyy12

        The Africa is the size of Western Europe, America, China and India. It has resources and massive potential.

        Yet it cannot feed itself provide basic water management, sewage, transport.

        The reason are wars and corruption. Corruption that would make the Mafia blush. In Africa the government pays for a bridge, roads, drugs, they get no bridge, no roads or drugs. With the Mafia you get something.

        Leave it to China..

  • Wilhelm

    Giving money to Africa is like throwing money down the toilet.