Page last updated at 15:39 GMT, Tuesday, 17 May 2011 16:39 UK

The Bishop of Exeter critical of Fox's aid objections

The Bishop of Exeter has criticised Defence Secretary Liam Fox's objections to enshrining the government's overseas aid spending targets in law.

The Rt Rev Michael Langrish was speaking during oral questions on 17 May 2011.

Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman has said that Dr Fox's concerns - disclosed in a leaked letter - would not affect the government's plan to create a statutory requirement for 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) to be spent on overseas aid.

The Bishop of Exeter told peers he was concerned that any minister should suggest a "weakening of the commitment of the coalition agreement to enshrining the spend of 0.7% of income on overseas development and aid".

Home Office minister Baroness Browning, replying to the debate, insisted the coalition commitment remained intact: "I am able to guarantee that on behalf of the coalition government. That is the government's stated position and that is the policy we shall pursue."

The day's business began with the news of the death of the Earl of Onslow who died on 14 May 2011, aged 73.

The Conservative hereditary peer had been a member of the House of Lords for 40 years and was known for his colourful bow ties and outspoken views on issues such as drugs, which he believed should be legalised.

Peers also asked government ministers questions on the BBC World Service, the English Baccalaureate and child poverty.


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