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Boris Johnson sidesteps calls to recommit to aid spending target

PM says defence spending boost has ‘no relation to discussions about overseas aid’

Boris Johnson has repeatedly refused to commit to maintaining UK overseas aid spending at 0.7% of GDP, in a Commons debate where he unveiled a £16.5bn, four-year boost to the defence budget that he said would help equip the military with “directed energy weapons”.

The prime minister was challenged by Labour’s Keir Starmer to explain how the defence announcement would be paid for and to honour a “very clear” Conservative manifesto commitment to maintain the aid budget.

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