International Development Secretary dodges 35 questions from Steve McCabe MP

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Since February 2013 Steve McCabe MP for Birmingham Selly Oak has asked 35 parliamentary questions and made two Freedom of Information requests, both of which have been refused; in an effort to gain more information about who actually authorised the Bost Agri Park and Airport aid project in Helmand Province, Afghanistan; how much taxpayer’s money has been wasted; what went wrong and what lessons have been learned?

During International Development Questions on 5 March 2014, Steve finally got a chance to ask Ms Greening why she was avoiding his questions about her Department’s management of the Bost Project. The Park was constructed by the United States in 2008 and was originally designed to assist traders and businessmen in the Lashkar Gar region to develop their products and transport them in a safe compound. The UK Government took over the administration of the project despite warnings that it was a high risk investment doomed for failure and in 2012 DFID scrapped the project.Steve suggested to the Speaker that it was not unreasonable that a Member of Parliament should expect a government minister to answer such questions. The Secretary of State became rather agitated when he asked what she and her officials were trying to cover up and exactly how much money had been wasted. The Secretary of State went on to accuse Steve McCabe of wasting money by continuing to ask questions that she refuses to answer.

Steve McCabe MP said:

“I am extremely disappointed by the International Development Secretary’s response to my 35th question on the Bost Agri Park and Airfield Project. If there was some genuine reason for a minister not wishing to disclose information publicly then they would normally invite the member into the department for a private briefing. That happens all the time. I have to conclude that on this occasion the minister is simply covering up and it won’t do. British taxpayers have a right to know what international development money is spent on and when it’s squandered; they have a right to know who is responsible and what is going to be done about it. I can assure the minister I won’t go away. She has made me more determined than ever to get to the bottom of this.”

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