RUTH DAVIDSON has become the latest figure to warn against plans to cut the UK's overseas aid budget.

The former leader of the Scottish Conservatives said the reduction could be seen as "mixed messaging" to the world when writing in The Times. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is widely expected to trim the UK’s commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas aid to 0.5 per cent in Wednesday’s spending review.

Ms Davidson, who stepped down as leader in Holyrood last August, said the cut was a “counterproductive choice – morally, economically and politically”.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak eyes £4bn cut to UK aid budget to help lower public spending

She wrote: “Barely a week after a big defence announcement, arguing that ‘Global Britain’ had been in retreat for too long and pledging to better shoulder our global defence responsibilities, that same ‘Global Britain’ turns around and says we’ll walk away from our humanitarian and development ones.”

The MSP joins the former prime ministers David Cameron and Tony Blair in warning against the move, while Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has also made a significant intervention.

Mr Welby told The Observer: “A global recovery from the economic consequences of the pandemic requires a global response. Keeping our aid commitment is a strong signal that the UK is a reliable partner for long-term economic, social, environmental and educational advancement across the globe.”

Mr Cameron, who oversaw the country first meeting the 0.7 per cent target in 2013, said abandoning it would be a “moral, strategic and political mistake”.

And Mr Blair said foreign aid – and the 0.7 per cent target – had been a “great British soft power achievement” and that it had saved millions of lives in Africa by reducing deaths from malaria and HIV.

Last week, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman drew attention to the fact the legislation enshrining the 0.7 per cent target in UK law explicitly acknowledged it might not always be met.

Meanwhile, coronavirus has led to a strain on the public purse with the Government spending billions keeping the economy ticking over.