BORIS Johnson has been spared an immediate Commons defeat over controversial foreign aid cuts after the Speaker ruled today's Tory rebel ambush out of order.

However Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he still wanted the Government to put the matter to an “effective vote”, and said he would consider allowing an emergency debate on the subject tomorrow.

He said he shared the "frustration" of the House that MPs had not been given a say on the matter.

The Prime Minister had been facing a defeat tonight after a rebellion by around 30 Tory MPs, including his predecessor Theresa May.

The rebels had hoped to amend a bill on the creation of a new science agency to reverse the Government’s plan to cut foreign aid from 0.7 to 0.5 per cent of GDP.

However the Speaker told MPs at 3.30pm that the proposed new clause was out of scope of the Bill, meaning it was too tangential to its original purpose.

But he made plain his displeasure with the Government's failure to consult the Commons on the cuts.

He said the International Development Secretary had a sduty to ensure the 0.7% of GDP commitment was met by the UK each year, however the Commons had not been given a "decisive vote" on altering that level of aid.

The rebel amendment's mover, former International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell, said that if the amendment had been selected, he would have expected it to pass by a majority of between nine and 20 votes.

He said: "The government front bench are treating the House of Commons with disrespect.

"They are avoiding a vote on the commitments that each of us made individually and collectively, at the last general election on a promise made internationally, and in the opinion of some of Britain's leading lawyers, the government is acting unlawfully.

"Mr Speaker, had we secured a vote on the new clause tonight, I can assure the house, it would have secured the assent of the house by not less than a majority of nine, and probably have around 20 votes as the speaker in the week of the British chairmanship of the G7, the government's failure to address this issue will indisputably mean that hundreds of thousands of avoidable deaths will result.

"It is already attracting criticism from all around the other members of the G7."

Mr Mitchell then asked the Speaker would could be done to stop the Government "riding roughshod over parliament" to thwart MPs' democratic rights.

Sir Lindsay said it would be for the courts to determine if the Government had acted unlawfully, not him.

But he went on: "I've already expressed my view that the House should be given an opportunity to make an effective - and I repeat, effective - decsion on this matter. 

"I would exceptionally be prepared to accept an application today for emergency debaate tomorrow.

"I share the House's frustration.

"It is quite right that this House should not continue to be taken for granted, but we must do it in the right way.

"I believe the government needs to come forward.

"The country needs this to be debated and aired and an effective decision taken. I know put that on the record, and hope that the government will take up that challenge and give this House its due respect that it deserves.

"We are the elected members, this House should be taken seriously, and the Government should be accountable here.

"So I wish and hope, very quickly, that this is taken on board. I don't want this to drag on.

"And if not, we will then look to find other ways in which we can move forward."

Keeping foreign aid at 0.7% of GDP was a Tory manifesto pledge at the 2019 election.

However Mr Johnson and his Chancellor Rishia Sunak argue they need to cut £4bn off this year-spending, while stil spending more than£10bn, in light of the Covid pandemic.

They argue that spending more than 0.5% of GDP is hard to justify when UK borrowing is a peacetime record.

However critics of the move, including hundreds of aid charities and academics, warn they will have a devastating impact on the ground and could cost lives.

The SNP have called the cuts "inhumane".

Writing in the Guardian today, Mr Mitchell said the amendment was a bid to ensure Mr Johnson could travel to Cornwall to meet his G7 counterparts on Friday as “first among equals”.

He said: “The eyes of the world are truly upon us.

“But in this moment Britain is found wanting, because we have removed a foundational piece of our own global leadership.

“Britain is the only G7 nation cutting aid this year.”

Former Brexit secretary Mr Davis told BBC Radio 4’s Today that the “harmful” and “devastating” cuts would result in deaths around the world.

There will be massive cuts in efforts to provide clean water, which will kill children worldwide, and in funding for food for starving people, where “again thousands will die”, Mr Davis told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

He said: “No other G7 country is cutting its aid in this way. It is going to have devastating consequences across the world.

“Historically, I am a critic of aid spending, but doing it this way is really so harmful.”

He said that Germany, France and the US are leaders in spending in this area, adding “so we are not such a leader any more – in fact we are throwing away enormous influence, particularly in Africa, where there is an ideological battle with China”.

Mr Davis told the programme: “Morally, this is a devastating thing for us to have done.”