POLITICS
12/06/2019 14:24 BST

Esther McVey Told Claim Aid Budget Funded Unusable Airports Is 'Total Rubbish'

Foreign Office minister hits back at Tory leadership candidate.

Esther McVey has been told her claim the UK’s foreign aid budget has been used to fund airports built “in the wrong direction” is “total rubbish”.

The Tory leadership candidate has pledged to slash the international development budget if she becomes prime minister.

Speaking to LBC on Wednesday, she said the money should be spent in the UK instead.

“We know airports have been built and actually the runways are in the wrong direction because of the winds,” she claimed.

“We know we’ve got that airport where we can’t take off and land because of the winds.”

Asked where the airport was, she added: “It’s in... one of the continents... abroad.”

But Foreign Office minster Alan Duncan replied on Twitter: “Total rubbish. The runway in question is in St Helena.

“I was the DfID Minister who built it - completed early, under budget, and despite difficult wind conditions it operates well. It fulfils our legal obligations to a UK overseas territory and so is not ‘foreign aid’.”

St Helena is a British Overseas Territory in the Atlantic which was previously only accessible by sea. 

The Department for International Development (DfID) spent £285.5m building the airport in 2015.