Sunak ‘has to play to home audience’ says GB News host
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Rishi Sunak has been warned it will be difficult to “splash the cash” on climate change projects at Cop27 given the financial turmoil facing Britons. Deputy political editor of HuffPost UK, Sophie Sleigh told GB News she believed there were going to be “huge spending cuts and tax rises” in the upcoming autumn budget to be announced in November, so for Mr Sunak to donate significant sums of cash to projects external to the UK would be a “hard sell”.
As well as the cost of living crisis, the new Prime Minister’s intray includes a spiralling migrant crisis, with the Government spending around £6 million a day on housing asylum seekers, according to the Home Office, and Mr Sunak is believed to be using the climate conference to broker a deal with France over a solution.
Mr Dixon said: “It is going to be more embarrassing for [Mr Sunak], surely, if he is on that world stage pledging money when he’s got to come back and deal with the home audience, deal with all of us.
“Now, he has got to play hardline, hasn’t he? He’s got to actually play to a home audience and not a world audience on this one.”
Ms Sleigh said: “I think that is a really fair point, and I think Rishi Sunak and his Chancellor Jeremy Hunt are going to have a hard sell when they outline their budget, their autumn statement, in a couple of weeks.
“From everything that is being trailed, it sounds really grim. It sounds like it is going to be huge, huge spending cuts and tax rises. That is the hard sell anytime, let alone splashing the cash elsewhere.
“However, I do think that a lot of the population do really care about climate change and can see the importance of it, but they are going to really play to the public on this.”
More than 100 world leaders will begin discussions in Egypt on Monday on the worsening problem that scientists call Earth’s biggest challenge.
Observers, however, have said it will be hard to make progress given all that is happening worldwide.
Mr Sunak was initially going to avoid the negotiations, citing “pressing domestic commitments”, such as the upcoming budget, but public pressure and predecessor Boris Johnson’s plans to attend the climate conference changed his mind.
Last Wednesday, he wrote on Twitter that “long-term prosperity” was not possible “without action on climate change”.
But it appears that the Downing Street incumbent has other focuses at Cop27 unrelated to the environment, having told The Sun newspaper his “key priority” at the conference was resolving the crisis of small boats crossing the Channel.
He is expected to raise the migrant crisis with his French counterpart when the two meet for the first time in Egypt on Monday.
He said: “I have spent more time working on that in the last few days than anything else other than the autumn statement,” he told the newspaper.
According to the paper, Britain and France are “close” to allowing Border Force staff on the beaches, with the PM insisting he will continue to push for a deal with Emmanuel Macron.
He added: “We have to get a grip, do a range of things to stop it from happening, return people who shouldn’t be here in the first place.”
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Most leaders are meeting Monday and Tuesday, just as the United States has a potentially policy-shifting midterm election.
Though US President Joe Biden is expected to attend the conference, it is anticipated the leader could be otherwise occupied and will turn up days later than most others.
And leaders of two of the three biggest carbon-polluting nations — China and India — appear to be skipping the climate talks altogether.
And Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin, whose invasion of Ukraine created energy chaos that reverberates in the world of climate negotiations, will not attend.
“We always want more” leaders, United Nations climate chief Simon Stiell said in a Sunday news conference. “But I believe there is sufficient (leadership) right now for us to have a very productive outcome.”
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