Councillor’s lobbying over loans to dictators

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DEEPINGS councillor Ashley Baxter went to Westminster to lobby about Britain’s controversial loans to deposed dictators including Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak.

The Green Party councillor made the trip after hearing the Department for Business failed to reveal details about loans – some of which were taken out to buy arms to “enforce oppression and injustice”.

Coun Baxter attended a briefing organised by the Jubilee Debt Campaign and then went on to Westminster, with his daughter Rosemary (10), to meet South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes.

Coun Baxter says the UK’s Export Credit Guarantee Department (ECGD) lent millions to dictators.

Despite Mubarak’s fall, Egypt owes more than £100 million.

Coun Baxter said: “The ECGD claim they do not even know what the loans were for, so effectively they are asking the new Egyptian government to repay a former dictator’s loan without being able to say why the money was originally lent in the first place.”

The councillor called for an audit of the Egyptian debt even if that reflects badly on Britain’s foreign policy.

Coun Baxter said: “I was encouraged by Mr Hayes’ response, especially when he agreed to raise the issues with his Cabinet colleagues Ed Davey and Vince Cable.

“Mr Hayes also appears to share my belief that there should be a strong ethical dimension to foreign policy.”

The councillor sits on Market Deeping Town Council and Deeping St James Parish Council.

Coun Baxter said Mr Hayes was “courteous as ever” and ensured his daughter saw Parliament at work.