Rishi Sunak U-turns and says he WILL attend Cop27 climate summit after ex-PM Boris Johnson revealed he will be going to event after being invited by Egyptian hosts
- The PM had initially indicated he would not travel to North Africa next week due to pressing domestic issues
- But wrote on Twitter this morning that he would now head for Sharm el-Sheikh next week after all
- Change came after predecessor Boris Johnson confirmed he would attend at request of Egyptian government
Rishi Sunak U-turned this morning and confirmed he will attend the Cop27 environmental conference in Egypt next week.
The PM had initially indicated he would not travel to North Africa despite the UK hosting the previous event in Glasgow last year.
The change came after Mr Sunak’s predecessor Boris Johnson confirmed he would attend, having made the environment a key plank of his premiership.
Writing on Twitter Mr Sunak said: ‘There is no long-term prosperity without action on climate change. There is no energy security without investing in renewables.
‘That is why I will attend Cop27 next week: to deliver on Glasgow’s legacy of building a secure and sustainable future.’
He had previously said he had to focus on Britain’s ‘depressing domestic challenges’ but faced growing pressure to join other world leaders at the conference next week.
Labour’s climate change secretary Ed Miliband said: ‘The Prime Minister has been shamed into going to Cop27 by the torrent of disbelief that he would fail to turn up.
‘He is going to avoid embarrassment, not to provide leadership.’
The PM had initially indicated he would not travel to North Africa despite the UK hosting the previous event in Glasgow last year
The change came after Mr Sunak’s predecessor Boris Johnson confirmed he would attend, having made the environment a key plank of his premiership
Writing on Twitter Mr Sunak said: ‘There is no long-term prosperity without action on climate change. There is no energy security without investing in renewables.’
Labour had called Sunak’s decision to skip Cop27 a ‘massive failure of leadership’. Britain hosted Cop26 last year and holds its presidency until the start of the next summit.
The Prime Minister’s own climate adviser Alok Sharma had said he was ‘disappointed’ that Mr Sunak was not planning to attend.
But today he praised the Prime Minister’s U-turn. The outgoing Cop26 president tweeted: ‘Delighted that @RishiSunak is attending Cop27 – completely agree with his comment that ”there is no long-term prosperity without action on climate change”.’
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said Rishi Sunak had been ‘dragged kicking and screaming into doing the right thing’ after he committed to attend the Cop27 climate summit. ‘Embarrassing,’ she added.
The decision of his arch-rival and former Downing Street neighbour to attend made it even harder for Mr Sunak to resist going.
Mr Johnson told Sky News last night that he would be attending, adding: ‘I was invited by the Egyptians so I’m very happy to go.’
Asked if his successor in No 10 should go too, he said Mr Sunak has a ‘massive amount to do’ with the Government’s domestic agenda, adding: ‘I happen to have a particular interest.’
Mr Johnson argued it has become ‘unfashionable’ to talk about Cop26, which he hosted in Glasgow last year.
‘I want to talk a little bit about how I see things and how we see things in the UK,’ Mr Johnson added.
Initially Downing Street said Mr Sunak would not be attending because he must focus on the ‘depressing domestic challenges’, as he works on the autumn budget.
But on Monday he changed tack, with No 10 saying that the decision was now ‘under review’ as ‘substantial progress’ was being made on his economic plans.
Rachel Kennerley, international climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: ‘It would have been a remarkable own goal for the Prime Minister to miss this year’s UN climate talks as the UK’s own presidency draws to a close, so it’s good that he’s seen sense and decided to attend.
‘But simply showing up won’t be enough. The UK government has a lot of work to do to rebuild its climate reputation after a year of rowing back on commitments made in Glasgow.
‘The PM quashed plans to revive fracking which was a good start to his tenure. If the UK expects to be taken seriously at the negotiating table, then the government must scrap plans for new oil and gas in the North Sea and say no to the UK’s first deep coal mine in 30 years.’
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