IAN Blackford has accused Boris Johnson’s Government of being “on the run from their own moral and legal responsibilities” as the Prime Minister faces growing pressure on £4 billion cuts to overseas aid.

Mr Johnson claimed “lefty propaganda” was misrepresenting the UK Government’s position on foreign aid – and said £10 billion is being spent.

The Prime Minister is under pressure after reneging on a Tory manifesto commitment to continue spending 0.7% of the UK's national income on overseas aid.

The row comes ahead of the G7 summit, being hosted by the UK Government this weekend.

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, the SNP Westminster leader warned that Mr Johnson will “walk into the G7 summit as the only leader cutting development aid to the world’s poorest”.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson refuses to give MPs a vote on 'unethical and unlawful' foreign aid cuts

He added: “At the very moment when global leadership is needed more than ever, this Tory Government is walking away from millions still struggling from the Covid pandemic and a poverty pandemic.”

Mr Blackford claimed that Mr Johnson “has been hiding on this issue for months”.

He said: “This is a Government on the run from their own moral and legal responsibilities and on the run from their own backbenchers.

“But the Prime Minister can’t hide from this issue any longer and he can’t run from democracy in this House.

“Will he stand up today and commit to a straight vote in this House on his inhumane cuts, as demanded by the Speaker? Prime Minister, it is a very simple question - yes or no?”

But the Prime Minister said that “lefty propaganda” was skewing perceptions of his Government's position – after facing a rebellion from backbench Tory MPs led by former prime minister Theresa May.

HeraldScotland: Prime Minister Boris JohnsonPrime Minister Boris Johnson

He also appeared to claim that the public has backed the aid budget cut, but didn't specify whether he meant the recent local elections - as he distanced himself from the manifesto commitment. 

Mr Johnson said: “I think the answer is clear – the people of this country were given a vote on this and many other matters very recently and I think they adjudicated very firmly in favour of the balance the Government is striking.

“We’re in very, very difficult financial times, but you shouldn’t believe the lefty propaganda you hear from people opposite.”

He added: “We’re spending £10 billion overseas.

“All they want to do is run this country down when we’ve increased spending on girls’ education alone to almost half a billion pounds.”

But Mr Blackford pointed to the Tory manifesto commitment that Mr Johnson is ignoring.

He said: “The simple fact of the matter is every single party, every single member of this house stood on a manifesto commitment of 0.7%.

“The Prime Minister has reneged on that, and the Speaker has indicated that the Government should allow a vote on it. It’s pretty basic stuff.”

The SNP Westminster leader claimed that the cuts will impact the global vaccination programme and impact water and hygiene projects.

He said: “After a year dealing with the deadly virus, why can’t the Prime Minister get this?

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“In a pandemic, no-one is safe until everyone is safe. Now is the time to support each other, not to walk away from those in need.”

Mr Blackford added: “People are dying and they need our help. The Prime Minister has the nerve to brag about the Government’s support for the vulnerable and at the very same time he is slashing £4.5 billion from the world’s poorest.

“In the week of the G7, what kind of world leader washes their hands of responsibility by cutting water and hygiene projects by more than 80% in the middle of a pandemic?”

But Mr Johnson labelled the claims by Mr Blackford as “absolutely disgraceful” and boasted about the UK Government’s contribution to the global vaccination effort.

He said: “The people of this country have had to go through a very difficult time – we've had to spend £407 billion supporting jobs, families, livelihoods throughout the country and yet we are continuing to support international vaccination - £1.6 billion this country has contributed to Gavi, £548 million to Covax.

“One in three of the vaccines being distributed around the world to the poorest and the neediest comes from the Oxford/AstraZeneca supply, thanks to the deal this Government did.”