Bono delivers aid plea to Tories: Cutbacks 'must not cost lives'

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The Independent Online

U2 frontman Bono made a surprise appearance via videolink at the Tory party conference today.

The rock star and aid campaigner made a short-pre-recorded speech urging the Tories to keep to their spending commitment on international aid during the economic downturn.

The video was saved for the moments before party leader David Cameron made his much-anticipated speech.

Bono was introduced by William Hague, de facto deputy leader, as "someone you don't normally hear from at Conservative conferences".

Last week Bono featured in a video at the Labour party conference in Brighton; in 2004 he appeared on stage to praise Tony Blair.

In the video to Tory supporters, he said: "Hello there, if you can swallow an Irishman saying what's great about Great Britain, indulge me for a minute.

"Because what's happened over the last few years regarding Britain's relationship with the developing world has been so inspiring to me."

He went on: "I would urge you conference - at a time of economic trauma, to meditate on the idea that cutbacks must not cost lives.

"Cutbacks must not cost lives. That's not my line by the way, that's yours, it's from a Conservative party paper.

"It's not a pop song but it certainly sticks in your head."

Commitments on international development should be kept despite difficult economic times, he said.

"It's a brave thing: keeping Britain's aid promise in these times ... but it is the right thing to do and it is what's great about Great Britain."

The Tories have pledged to keep to the target of 0.7 per cent of GDP on international aid.