We need to cut foreign aid and spend the money on defence says Brexiteer Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg.


Saying that it was time for the UK to show Putin's Russia that 'we are serious' Jacob Rees-Mogg also said on an LBC radio phone in that 'the best way to promote peace was to prepare for war'.

With the Express reporting:

"He urged Britain to rebuild the country's crumbling armed forces with the funds afforded to the foreign aid budget.

"During his phone-in radio show on LBC, the Somerset North MP said that move was urgently required given the increasingly confrontational relationship between the UK and Russia."

The Moggster has, in the past, criticised the way the foreign aid budget is constructed, saying that the 0.7% of Gross National Income target system was economically illiterate and wasteful as we ran around the world trying to find a home for money at the end of the year instead of setting a proper budget for it at the beginning.

I would say cut the foreign aid budget right back and set proper criteria for it too!

But one of Rees-Mogg's colleagues and also a Brexiteer, John Redwood, said in his diary today that although we should look at how aid was spent:

"This Parliament would not want to repeal the 0.7% Aid target so it is important to look at how it is spent."

Now to the UK Independence Party, which has placed itself in a bit of a quandary.

According to reports, the party membership could be offered the chance to vote at this year's 25th anniversary of the forming of UKIP on whether or not the former self-proclaimed leader of the English Defence League, Tommy Robinson, should be allowed to join UKIP.

Currently, ex-members of such bodies as the British National Party and English Defence League are prevented by UKIP rules from joining the party.

But the UKIP Families and Children Spokesman, Alan Craig, has put forward a motion calling for Robinson to be allowed to join, which would be debated at the conference. But it will first have to get past the party's National Executive Committee tomorrow.

In his submission, Craig has compared Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, to both Robin Hood and the Suffragettes.

Alan Craig's proposal has been seconded by Reece Coombes, the deputy chairman of UKIP's youth wing, Young Independence.

For his part, Mr Robinson has made his first video since his recent release from prison on this subject, in which he says that the UKIP NEC will tomorrow not be deciding on whether or not he can join, but on whether or not they trust the UKIP membership to make that decision at the conference. Do they believe in democracy in their own party, he asks.

UKIP has the opportunity to electrify this country's working class – he said – going on to say that there had been talk of losing 2,000 members if he was allowed to join, but they could gain 20,000 members and cause a political revolution in Britain said Robinson.

It's about time the British public had a party they can get excited about, he said.

He also said that the UKIP current leader Gerard Batten was the only politician that would make him sit up and vote and he would join UKIP.

He ends with an impassioned plea for the NEC to allow the vote to go through to the membership.

This has of course split opinion amongst the party at every level. Some are right behind Mr Robinson and some, like former leadership contender Ben Walker, are considering resigning should he be allowed to join.

However – the UKIP membership rules are very explicit on this matter. Under the administrative rules at paragraph I.6 it says:

"Membership is not available to anyone who is or has previously been a member of the British National Party, the National Front, the UK First party, the English Defence League, the British Freedom Party, British People’s Party and the Britain First Party (or any other parties or organisations later added to the proscribed list).

"Any applications made from people who are or have been members of these organisations will be refused, and any subscriptions collected will be refunded. By making an application for membership, the applicant certifies that he is not and has never been a member of either of these parties."

So, if my reading of the situation is correct, the NEC has no choice other than refuse permission for the motion to be put to the Conference as the vote could be challenged through the courts by disgruntled members.

The first step must be to change the rule book. That, after all, is the proper democratic route is it not?

If we make rules we must all abide by them with no exceptions, and if the rules are wrong – change them via the proper process – otherwise you may as well just throw the rule book in the bin!

So my message is don't be surprised if the NEC refuses permission for this motion to be put before conference, but don't blame them either – they are as constrained by the rules as anyone else in the party is.

Moving on, the EU just loves spending your money doesn't it? In June the EU parliament spent £800,000 on replacing TV sets in the offices of its MEPs, reports Guido Fawkes.

There are 751 MEPs so that would makes it over £1,000 to supply and install each set.

Now to the interesting part, the huge 43 inch sets are too big and placed too near to the viewer.

So the EU Parliament tech team has e-mailed MEPs saying that they will move the sets if asked or replace them with a smaller one.

Wonder what they'll do with all the ones they collect in after replacing them?

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