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May, Corbyn and Farron mark Christian Aid week with commitments to world's poor

The leaders of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties have written articles in the Church Times outlining their commitment to the world's poor.

Marking 60 years of Christian Aid Week, Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron covered in their write-ups their view on Britain's role in the world covering issues including the aid budget, the refugee crisis and helping to eradicate global poverty.

The Prime Minister said it was in Britain's national interest to stem problems overseas that could "threaten us here at home".

The Conservative leader also said the United Kingdom should be proud to be the first G7 country to meet the UN target of spending 0.7 per cent of gross national income on international development. She promised that percentage would remain if her party formed the next government.

Mrs May added: "Disasters, conflicts and diseases don't pay attention to national borders.

"We are a kind and generous country that will never turn its back on those in need. We will always meet our commitments to the world."

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However, Labour leader Corbyn questioned the Conservative's pledge to help those less fortunate.

He said "international development seems to invoke some kind of moral terror, balking at the notion of giving to the most needy" for some Conservative members.

Speaking on what he described as an "ethical foreign policy" he said: "A Labour government will never undermine the duty we have to help developing nations build their economies, root out corruption and tax evasion, and lift people out of poverty.

"I want Britain to be a world leader in creating job opportunities, encouraging renewable energy schemes and improving governance and in turn, to reduce the need for aid in the first place."

The Lib Dem leader rejected the idea that eradicating poverty around the world should just be seen as a security measure or an international obligation.

Mr Farron said: "It is, and always will be, a moral issue, coming from our gut sense of compassion and our belief that we cannot sit by and ignore the injustice of a world of such inequality and poverty.

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"As Christians we recognise that this gut reaction comes from more than just our own thoughts and feelings but also from a sense of being called to love our neighbour, wherever they may be."

He added that behind statistics are people that are our "brothers and sisters" who we are "called to love".

Tom Viita, Christian Aid's Head of Advocacy thanked the party leaders "for their commitment to continuing to play a courageous role in international development".

He urged all voters to consider all of the issues raised as they cast their ballots on the June 8 General Election.



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