Britain’s International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has told Cabinet colleagues that the UK should leave the United Nations’ culture body, UNESCO, after the U.S. withdrew over anti-Israel bias.
The Times reports that Ms Mordaunt told ministers that she supported pulling funding from the UN body after the Department for International Development (DfID) had ranked UNESCO the worst-performing multilateral agency and that it did not reach the office’s criteria for international aid — UNESCO receiving £11.1 million of UK aid annually.
Mordaunt appears to be following her predecessor and fellow Brexiteer Priti Patel, who called for withdrawal in 2016 because the body was wasteful — a motion rejected by Prime Minister Theresa May, with a senior government figure telling The Telegraph at the time that Mrs Patel received a “major rap over the knuckles” from the premier.
Sources have told The Times that Mrs May has not moved from her position since 2016, and both environment secretary Michael Gove and the Foreign Office were said to have been perturbed by the suggestion.
A DfID spokesman told the newspaper: “There has been no change to our funding commitment to Unesco. The UK is working closely with Unesco and other member states to ensure it makes crucial reforms to deliver the best results and value for taxpayers’ money.”
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, was founded in London in 1945 by the UN — the international inheritor to the League of Nations — to preserve culture worldwide through its ‘World Heritage Site’ programme, which includes monuments like Stonehenge in England and Yellowstone National Park in the U.S.
Britain followed pulled out in 1985 under Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on grounds that it was too politicised and inefficient. The U.S. withdrew in 1984 under President Ronald Reagan over allegations the body had a pro-Soviet bias.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 26, 2016
The UK rejoined in 1997 under globalist Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, with the U.S. rejoining in 2002 under President George W. Bush.
The body has been hit with accusations of being over politicised in recent years, in 2011 admitting the Palestinian territories as a ‘full member’ despite not being a country, resulting in the U.S. stopping its $60 million contribution.
In October 2017, the U.S. withdrew from UNESCO over concerns of its “continuing anti-Israel bias,” after the UN body ignored in a resolution, which refers to Israel as an “occupying power,” that Judaism’s holiest sites the Temple Mount and Western Wall, are part of Jewish history. Israel pulled out in the following December,
Then-candidate Donald Trump has criticised the cultural body in October 2016 for “attempt[ing] to ignore Israel’s 3,000-year bond to its capital city” which he said was“further evidence of the enormous anti-Israel bias” at the UN.