By Ann Higgins

You might think that being a backbench Tory MP was simply a matter of making the odd pro government speech, sucking up to the PM at PMQs, and otherwise keeping your head down, a role that local Penzance and St Ives MP Derek Thomas has been playing to a T.  However, much to our surprise, and I suspect to his, Mr Thomas has very recently stuck his head up above the parapet and lent his voice to others like ex chief whip Andrew Mitchell, ex Brexit Minister David Davis, and ex PM Theresa May in opposing the government’s plan to reduce our foreign aid budget to 0.5%  of GDP from 0.7%, a figure enshrined in UK law since 2015.  Despite their potential breach of the law and their manifesto commitment to maintain the 0.7%, the government has stuck to its guns that due to Covid-19 it needed to save the £4 bn represented by the 0.2% cut thus leaving high and dry many projects delivering medicines, education and clean water to desperate people throughout the world who are suffering even more due to the pandemic. 

A consistent voter against higher benefits for the disabled, and against EU citizens and their families keeping their rights in the UK post-Brexit, it seems that finally Mr Thomas has found a Tory policy that even he cannot stomach.