UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson scraps Department for International Development (DfID)

In the United Kingdom, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development are to merge, the Prime Minister has said.

Boris Johnson has defended his decision to scrap the Department for International Development in a merger with the Foreign Office after former Conservative prime minister David Cameronlabelled it “a mistake”

In an earlier tweet, the former incumbent of Number 10 said Mr Johnson’s move to merge the two department would result in “less respect” for the UK.

But as he came under fire from former prime ministers and international development secretaries, as well as Opposition MPs, Mr Johnson insisted the merger would create “a better, more powerful, more positive voice for this country overseas”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called the announcement of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, a “distraction” from the UK’s economic woes and high Covid-19 death toll.

In a statement on Tuesday to MPs, Mr Johnson said it was “outdated” to keep the departments separate.

The Prime Minister is right to maintain the commitment to 0.7 – it saves lives, promotes a safer world and builds British influence. But the decision to merge the departments is a mistake.

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Mr Johnson told the Commons on Tuesday: “We must now strengthen our position in an intensely competitive world by making sensible changes.

“And so I have decided to merge Dfid with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to create a new department, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.”

ITV News Political Correspondent Romilly Weeks explains how past UK leaders have reacted to the merger

Mr Cameron said that while the prime minister was “right to maintain the commitment to 0.7″, merging the two departments “will mean less expertise, less voice for development at the top table and ultimately less respect for the UK overseas.”

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