Campaigners discuss overseas aid with MP Gillian Keegan

Gillian Keegan (centre) meeting Valerie (left) and Tanya last week
Gillian Keegan (centre) meeting Valerie (left) and Tanya last week

Campaigners travelled to Westminster to speak to Chichester’s MP about the crucial role UK overseas aid plays in tackling global poverty.

On Tuesday, October 17, Valerie Briginshaw, a supporter of the international aid agency One, and Tanya Blanks, a supporter of the youth-led development agency Restless Development, met with Gillian Keegan to discuss its impact on impoverished communities around the world.

Alongside nearly 100 other constituents, the pair met with other MPs on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, to celebrate the impact of the UK’s role in tackling global poverty and to urge MPs to ensure that the UK continues to be a global leader.

Valerie said: “She (Mrs Keegan) was very positive and has already hosted a meeting with (philanthropist) Melinda Gates about overseas aid.

“As a result of our meeting, we asked if she would write to the local paper about today and she said, yes.”

The group included representatives and supporters from 11 international development charities, as well as year 10 students from Sacred Heart of Mary, Upminster.

Tanya added: “The meeting was really good – when I went in, I wasn’t too optimistic as she is a Conservative MP but it was amazing to hear that she is very supportive of aid and it is great that she is so positive.”

In recent years, the number of people living in extreme poverty in the world has halved, Restless Development said.

“This is enormous progress – and UK foreign aid and global leadership has played a powerful role,” it said.

“Yet, with 16,000 children under five dying needlessly each day, there is still a long way to go.”

The pair hope the meeting will be the start of a conversation with Mrs Keegan about how the UK can continue to change the lives of some of the poorest people.