Andrew Mitchell under fire over Rwanda aid

 

Andrew Mitchell was under further pressure last night after Labour demanded he publish the civil service advice he received over his decision to reinstate Britain's suspended aid programme to Rwanda.

Mr Mitchell used his last few hours as International Development Secretary, before being moved in the reshuffle, to sign off on a plan to hand over £16m of frozen aid.

The UK suspended the payment in June, under pressure from the US and EU, after a UN report said the government of President Paul Kagame was sponsoring rebels in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Sources suggested that Mr Mitchell was reluctant to suspend aid in the first place because of his close links to President Kagame – and overruled advice from his own officials on reinstating the funding in the last act before being moved to the Whips Office.

Labour's shadow International Development Secretary Ivan Lewis said: "Andrew Mitchell's irresponsible decision to reinstate aid put personal friendship above proper foreign policy considerations and undermines the strong message sent by other donors."

An International Development Department spokesman denied the decision was improper.

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