Does Justine Greening want to cut aid spending?

The new International Development Secretary reportedly opposes the decision to ring-fence spending.

Does the new International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, believe her department's budget should be cut? That's the suggestion from the Times's Sam Coates, who reports today (£) that Greening opposed the decision to ring-fence aid spending (or rather, to increase it by 35%) and, partly for that reason, didn't want the job. Shadow international development secretary Ivan Lewis told me that he wrote to Greening last night "asking for urgent clarification on this." He added that Cameron's decision to appoint her "raises questions about his commitment" (to the 0.7% target).

But could all this be another one of George Osborne's cunning plans? As I wrote yesterday, a higher-than-expected deficit could prompt the Chancellor to cut aid spending in later years in order to meet his fiscal rules. The decision to install Greening in place of Andrew Mitchell, a passionate supporter of the 0.7% pledge, removes at least one obstacle to doing so.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening arrives in Downing Street earlier this week for the first cabinet meeting since the reshuffle. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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What did Jeremy Corbyn really say about Bin Laden?

He's been critiqued for calling Bin Laden's death a "tragedy". But what did Jeremy Corbyn really say?

Jeremy Corbyn is under fire for describing Bin Laden’s death as a “tragedy” in the Sun, but what did the Labour leadership frontrunner really say?

In remarks made to Press TV, the state-backed Iranian broadcaster, the Islington North MP said:

“This was an assassination attempt, and is yet another tragedy, upon a tragedy, upon a tragedy. The World Trade Center was a tragedy, the attack on Afghanistan was a tragedy, the war in Iraq was a tragedy. Tens of thousands of people have died.”

He also added that it was his preference that Osama Bin Laden be put on trial, a view shared by, among other people, Barack Obama and Boris Johnson.

Although Andy Burnham, one of Corbyn’s rivals for the leadership, will later today claim that “there is everything to play for” in the contest, with “tens of thousands still to vote”, the row is unlikely to harm Corbyn’s chances of becoming Labour leader. 

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.