Rishi’s first U-turn? Ministers admit Sunak COULD attend COP27 summit in Egypt despite previously claiming he is ‘too busy’ preparing the Budget – after Boris hints he might go
- Downing Street initially indicated that Rishi Sunak will not attend COP27 summit
- Rethink after a backlash and Boris Johnson suggesting he will be going to Egypt
- Ministers now say PM will go ‘if he’s got time’ amid Autumn Budget preparations
Rishi Sunak could perform a U-turn by attending the COP27 climate summit, ministers admitted today.
The PM is reconsidering after sparking a backlash by saying he would be too busy assembling the crucial Budget package in the coming weeks.
His predecessor Boris Johnson is considering going to the meeting in Egypt, causing anxiety in No10 about Mr Sunak being outflanked.
Environment minister Mark Spencer said this morning that he would like to see Mr Sunak join the gathering ‘if he’s got time’.
‘I think the Prime Minister has a huge inbox. He’s come into office, he’s got an inbox which is full to the brim. Clearly he wants to concentrate on the financial statement and that’s what he’s doing,’ he told Sky News.
‘But if he’s able to get through… all of that, you know, Cop is very important. It’s very important to the Government, it’s important to our future, so we’ll send out senior ministers, but that’s yet to be decided who’s going to go.’
Rishi Sunak is reconsidering attending COP27 after sparking a backlash by saying he would be too busy assembling the crucial Budget package in the coming weeks
His predecessor Boris Johnson is considering going to the meeting in Egypt, causing anxiety in No10 about Mr Sunak being outflanked
Asked if he would like to see Mr Sunak attend the summit, he said: ‘If he’s got time. Only he will know what he’s got in his inbox and in his diary, if he has the time, but he’ll make that call and I’m sure it’ll be the right one.’
Allies of Rishi Sunak told the Financial Times his priority was ‘first and foremost’ domestic issues, but he may also go to the meeting in Egypt.
A source said whether he goes ‘depends on progress’ tackling the economic crisis and drawing up the Autumn Statement on November 17.
News of a possible change of heart came after Britain’s COP26 president said yesterday that Mr Sunak could undermine Britain’s role as a world leader on green issues if he snubbed the summit from November 6 to 18.
Alok Sharma said he was ‘disappointed’ that Mr Sunak was not intending to go.
The PM had said he wanted to focus on Britain’s ‘depressing domestic challenges’.
But it raised concerns that the UK would not be properly represented at the summit. Ex-PM Liz Truss had been planning to go.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, Business Secretary Grant Shapps and Environment Secretary Therese Coffey will attend with Mr Sharma.
Meanwhile, it was announced yesterday that the King – who was advised not to attend COP27 despite pleas from the US among others – will host a reception for global business leaders beforehand at Buckingham Palace.
Environment minister Mark Spencer said this morning that he would like to see Mr Sunak join the gathering ‘if he’s got time’
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