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'Link foreign aid to UK values'
The Government should withdraw international aid from countries which do not adopt British values, former defence secretary Liam Fox said today.
Dr Fox said countries like Pakistan received millions of pounds from the British taxpayer every year but Christian communities in the country were facing increasing hostility.
He said if foreign governments fail to uphold British values such as religious tolerance, the UK should not continue to give them hand-outs.
Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, he said: "We should use our leverage to ensure that those ethics of generous British citizens who provide the money through their donations and through their taxes, are reflected in those countries whom we assist.
"We should make clear that religious tolerance and equal rights are an essential part of our culture which we insist in being replicated in the recipient nations and if they are not, then our aid policy should be re-evaluated.
"We are who and what we are, not just because of economic strength but because of what we believe. Our commitment to political freedom and expression, the economic freedom within a free market framework and our religiously tolerant society have shaped not only this country but many around the globe."
Responding to a follow-up question, he added: "I look at countries like Pakistan, where a huge amount of our aid goes to and I view a country where religious tolerance is becoming less and less.
"I see Christian minorities being persecuted and I wonder why we are not using the leverage of our aid to say 'we actually expect you to show greater religious tolerance to many of these groups'.
"I just think that if you look at countries which do tolerate religious minorities they tend to be open and creative societies and repressive nations tend to go in ever-decreasing circles and become less prosperous and their societies less stable.
"I think we owe it to the ordinary citizens there to try to get their government to change.... There will always be those who say 'why should you impose your views on somebody else?' Well, I think politics is pretty binary - you either try and shape the world around you or you be shaped by it.
"If you look at a country like India, which having inherited so much our legal tradition for example, has enabled itself to become not only increasingly affluent but a stable democracy.
"I think we should be proud of our values. I think we do far too much apologising for our history. I think it is time for us to tell the Liberal apologetic revisionist historians to get lost."