One of Test Valley’s MP’s has said that “women will die” because of proposed cuts to the UK’s foreign aid budget.

Caroline Nokes, whose constituency of Romsey and Southampton North covers must of Test Valley from Longparish southwards, is backing a push to reverse a proposed cut of almost £10 billion from the UK’s foreign aid spending. She has signed an amendment that seeks to force the government to spend 0.7 per cent of GDP on foreign aid.

Speaking to ITV’s Peston, she said: “It’s taken quite a lot of manoeuvring to find an opportunity to actually have a vote on this.

“I feel really strongly that we legislated for the 0.7 per cent commitment and the cuts are affecting women and girls.

“I am chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, the cuts of 85 per cent to family planning, the cuts to girls’ education – what we know from that is that if girls are not educated they won’t be empowered, they won’t be empowered if they are pregnant too early.

“Women will die because of these cuts to family planning so I have joined forces with colleagues to make sure we can have a vote on it and I will be voting to keep that 0.7%.”

In 2015, the government passed a law that mandated it to spend the equivalent of 0.7 per cent of GDP every year from that period on. Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party had pledged to maintain this in 2019, but cut it to 0.5 per cent during the pandemic, citing the economic issues Covid has created.

Critics of the policy believe the cut will result in tens of thousands of deaths in other parts of the world. As a result, Conservative backbenchers against the plans, such as Caroline Nokes, are hoping to reverse the cut through an amendment proposed by Andrew Mitchell MP, and are confident they have the numbers to inflict a defeat on the government.

Andrew Mitchell has tabled an amendment to the Advanced Research and Invention Agency (Aria) Bill, a piece of legislation which establishes a new “high-risk, high-reward” research agency backed with £800 million of taxpayers’ cash to explore new ideas.

The explanatory note of Mr Mitchell’s amendment to the Bill says: “This new clause is intended to reaffirm the duty in the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015 for UK official development assistance (ODA) to amount to 0.7 per cent of gross national income each year.

“It would require Aria to make up any shortfall in that proportion from January 2022.”

Asked if the amendment would be binding on the Government, Ms Nokes said: “I think it’s very unclear at the moment and what we’ve seen the Government do so far is what I’d describe as cuts by stealth.

“So there hasn’t been an opportunity for Parliament to express its view on this with a vote.

“I very much hope it will be binding.

“I don’t want to see the Government try and find a way out of a commitment that we all signed up to just a few short years ago.”

However, the amendment must still be selected by Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle for consideration when the bill enters the House of Commons on Monday, May 7.

In response to the claims regarding the aid cut, a Government spokesperson said: “In 2021 we will spend more than £10 billion to improve global health, fight poverty and tackle climate change.

“While the seismic impact of the pandemic has forced us to take tough but necessary decisions, the Government is committed to returning to spending 0.7% of GNI (gross national income) on aid when the fiscal situation allows.”