SNP bashes royal decision on COP27 – ‘What’s the point of being King’

King Charles should attend COP27 says SNP MP Stephen Flynn

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MSP Stephen Flynn urged King Charles to “get on the flight” to the UN Climate Change Conference despite previous confirmation from the Palace that the monarch would not attend COP27. The SNP member questioned “the point in being King” given the monarch’s absence from the climate summit despite his history of environmental advocacy. The statement from Mr Flynn arose following a dramatic u-turn from Downing Street after Number Ten revealed the Prime Minister would travel to Egypt. This followed prior briefings which suggested Rishi Sunak would miss the conference to focus on “pressing domestic commitments”.

LBC Radio host Iain Dale asked: “Does the panel think King Charles should now be allowed to attend COP27, given the Prime Minister is going?”

Mr Flynn retorted: “What’s the point in being King if you can’t just do what you want to do?

“Charles, get on the flight and go to COP if you really do care about this – which I believe he does.”

Buckingham Palace reported the King had sought advice on the prospect of attending COP27 during a discussion with former prime minister Liz Truss. 

The Palace asserted the decision for the monarch to miss the climate summit was reached with “mutual friendship and respect” between the King and Ms Truss.

The SNP MP continued: “The wider issue here is that the Prime Minister said he wasn’t going to go and now, of course, he is going. 

“He is following in Nicola Sturgeon’s wake and following her over to COP27.”

Asked if the First Minister’s plan to attend the UN Climate Change Conference had played a “key part” in influencing the Prime Minister’s change of heart, Mr Flynn suggested it had.

He stated: “It would have been because Scotland is leading the way when it comes to renewables.”

Mr Flynn added: “We are talking about the biggest existential crisis facing humanity. The Prime Minister should be there, the First Minister should be there, the King should be there.”

Read more: King Charles blocked from attending COP27 by Sunak

Last week, a spokesperson for Nicola Sturgeon asserted: “Given the vital importance of governments working together to tackle climate change, it is the First Minister’s intention to attend COP27.”

On Wednesday, Number Ten revealed the Prime Minister would attend COP27, retreating on an earlier decision that Mr Sunak would not attend the conference amid domestic preparations for the upcoming fiscal statement.

In a Tweet, Rishi 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.”

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While there has been no update on the King’s position, several members of the government have questioned the decision for the monarch not to attend COP27.

Alok Sharma, President of COP26, told BBC Radio 4: “I would certainly like to see His Majesty attend and that is a message I am getting from countries around the world.

“Of course, he is head of state in the United Kingdom but he is also head of state in other countries, some of which are very much on the front line of climate change.”

Tory MP Tobias Ellwood added: “[The King’s] attendance would add serious authority to the British delegations. Can we really go from hosting COP26 to benching soft power at COP27?”

The King is set to host a reception for leading figures of COP27 at Buckingham Palace on Friday, ahead of the conference which will begin next week. The reception will bring together over 200 business leaders, political figures and campaigners to mark the end of the UK Presidency of COP 26 ahead of the upcoming summit in Sharm El Sheikh.

Read next: 
Karren Brady blasts Rishi Sunak’s ‘ridiculous’ decision about Cop27
King Charles issues new statement on Cop27 attendance
Boris Johnson confirms he will attend COP27 
Sunak performs first U-turn and confirms he will attend COP27
King to skip COP27 in Egypt but host lavish Palace reception instead

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