Conservative backbench opposition to international aid: is it driven by hard Euroscepticism?


This paper considers the opposition within Conservative parliamentary ranks to the decision of the Cameron administration to ring fence spending on overseas development aid (ODA) or international aid. Using documentary analysis from a range of parliamentary debates and divisions in the 2010 to 2015 Parliament, the paper pieces together the arguments against legally enshrining spending on international aid at 0.7 percent of Gross National Income (GNI) made by Conservative parliamentarians. We define each Conservative parliamentarian as either aid critics (voted or spoke out against the 0.7 percent target); aid sceptics (abstained and did not publicly speak out for the 0.7 percent target); and aid advocates (those who voted and spoke out for the 0.7 percent target). We then consider the overlap between hard Euroscepticism (i.e. Brexit) to see the extent to which issues of national identity may explain hostility towards international aid spending.


national identity, overseas development, British foreign policy; international aid, Euroscepticism

How to Cite

Heppell T. & Crines A. (2017) “Conservative backbench opposition to international aid: is it driven by hard Euroscepticism?”, Identity Papers. 2(1). doi:






Timothy Heppell
Andrew Crines




Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

Peer Review

This article has been peer reviewed.

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