Boris Johnson risks Brexit Britain’s global ‘soft power’ for ‘Red Wall seat’ ploy
Tobias Ellwood says ‘soft power’ is a part of a ‘political plot’
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Tory MP and Chair of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, Tobias Ellwood insisted it was a mistake to reduce the UK’s foreign aid budget from 0.7 to 0.5. During an interview with Express.co.uk, he insisted this could reduce Brexit Britain’s global influence. In turn, this could result in countries like China filling the void the UK leaves and immersing themselves in countries.
He also said the reluctance to sell the concept of foreign aid to red wall seats was a ploy by Boris Johnson and his Government.
Mr Ellwood said: “Why not use foreign aid as soft power.
“You start using that word, let’s take it back to Afghanistan, the soft power that we utilised is the other side of the coin to hard power.
“You can’t defeat any military, any insurgency, but military means alone, you need soft power.
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“Therefore, when we sell it that way, when we say that this is what we do to help our position on the international stage, I think we would win across a lot more of the general public.”
Mr Ellwood then attacked Boris Johnson and his Government’s inability to convince Britons of the importance of “soft power.”
He said: “Rather foolishly we have sold this to red wall seats saying you are going to get this money.
“Which doesn’t work anyway because it is capital spend, saying you are going to get 4 billion invested in you.
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“It is all part of a political ploy for the Government to survive.
“I understand there is always politics involved but there are bigger issues at play here.”
Mr Ellwood highlighted how this relaxation of soft power could be a positive for China.
He indicated that China will look to replace the West in countries it has a weaker influence in which could result in disaster.
He said: “Us reducing our programmes in Somalia will lead to people starving, more people caught up in the slave trade.
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“It will lead to us leaving vacuums that will be exploited by Al-Shabaab.
“In other places it will be China, going back to the soft power, China will quickly focus in and jump in and replace us with their own advanced aid programmes.
“Once they are in, it will be very difficult, they will then exploit that and force another country to look left or right, east or west.
“When China ingratiates itself in that country, they will never leave.
“They will just immerse themselves in more programmes, much to the detriment of the standards that they or certainly the West enjoys.”
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