FOREIGN Secretary Dominic Raab has avoided scrutiny by the international development committee since his department took responsibility for the majority of UK aid spending, MPs have said.

In a statement published yesterday, they said their efforts to quiz Raab on his policies had been repeatedly knocked back.

The Department for International Development (DFID), which has a major office in East Kilbride, was merged with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) at the beginning of September.

Since the merger was announced in June, the Foreign Secretary offered twice, in writing, to discuss the new department and the expected cut in aid spend. However, the MPs said repeated attempts to take up these offers have been declined.

More recently they said the committee expressed a willingness to work around the Foreign Secretary’s diary, but received a further unsatisfactory response.

The committee has been equally unsuccessful in attempts to secure other ministers from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

This is against the backdrop of the Prime Minister’s recent comments in front of the Liaison Committee, stressing he relished parliamentary scrutiny of foreign aid.

International Development Committee chair, Sarah Champion MP, said: “UK aid spend is vitally important and rarely a matter of partisan politics. But we do need to show the British public that what is being spent is being done so for the right reasons and that it offers value for money.

“The Government’s repeated refusal to appear before my committee is unacceptable.

“It was this Government’s choice – against evidence suggesting it was a bad idea for the UK’s global standing – to give the Foreign Office responsibility of development spend.

“As the Secretary of State in charge of this newly ballooned remit, Mr Raab must stand up to the scrutiny that parliament has decided comes with the role.

“My Committee isn’t going anywhere yet. For as long as we are the committee scrutinising Government aid spend, ministers have a duty to be accountable to the Commons.

“Failure to do so feels like contempt of parliament.”

Boris Johnson last month told MPs the UK could rip up rules on how foreign aid is spent.

Appearing before the Liaison Committee in the Commons, he said the money could be diverted so that at the same time as boosting international development, they also help create more jobs at home.

The UK is legally committed to spending 0.7% of national income on aid, with the bill surpassing £15 billion for the first time last year.

The Government is looking at the aid budget as part of its review of foreign policy, defence, security and international development.