“I can assure the hon. Lady that there has been massive consultation over a long period.”

Boris Johnson, House of Commons

June 16, 2020

Facts

Boris Johnson was asked by Labour MP Mary Kelly Foy “What ​consultation did the Government carry out with humanitarian and development experts, as well as leading aid organisations” before deciding to merge the Department for International Development with the Foreign Office.

Mr Johnson claimed there had been a “massive consultation over a long period.” However, a number of development professionals disputed this claim. 

Ian Mitchell, senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development said: “There’s been a public debate but not a public consultation.”

Neil Thorns, head of advocacy at the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development aid organisation, said: “We’d like to know who the PM believes was consulted on this. We severely doubt whether it was with those who are most affected, the poorest communities and those who work closely with them. This proposal did not come as a result of a consultation with those who want to focus on the poorest.”

Alastair Russel, public affairs adviser at Save the Children, one of the U.K.’s biggest NGOs, said: “Certainly there hasn’t been a consultation as far as we’ve been aware”.

Stephanie Draper, CEO of Bond, the U.K. network for aid non governmental organisations, said the merger went ahead “with no consultation and against the advice of aid scrutiny bodies, as well as our development sector.”

Since the announcement, nearly 200 aid organisations and charities have called on Boris Johnson to reconsider his decision.

Verdict

Boris Johnson’s claim of a ‘massive’ consultation was contradicted by relevant aid organisations. His misleading remark was a straightforward fabrication which remains on the Commons record  in defiance of the Ministerial Code.

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