Overseas aid should be at the centre of Theresa May’s drive to create a “global Britain”, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has said in a report backing the 0.7 per cent spending target.
Her intervention came as a survey on the influential Conservative Home website gave Ms Davidson the highest net satisfaction rating among party members of any senior Conservative figure - as Theresa May’s rating tumbled to second bottom.
The Scottish Conservative leader, who has been touted as a future UK party leader, has an 84.5 per cent positive rating, ahead of Brexit secretary David Davis on 78.4 per cent.
Michael Gove is in third position with a 57.7 per cent rating, while likely leadership contenders Boris Johnson and Andrea Leadsom languish on 38.8 per cent and 35.2 per cent respectively. Ms Davidson has refused to rule out running for a Westminster seat in future.
Some Conservative MPs have called on the Prime Minister to ditch a commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on aid, but Ms Davidson said development funding could boost UK foreign policy.
Commenting on the report by centre-right think tank Policy Exchange, she said: “There is a strong centre-right case for putting overseas aid at the centre of a global Britain, working alongside our commitments to strong defence and becoming a global champion for free trade.
“To defeat poverty, we will need to support both aid and trade, markets and global public goods - not create an artificial dichotomy between them.”
The Policy Exchange report calls for the aid strategy to be updated, taking Brexit into account.