Cabinet minister Alok Sharma urges Liz Truss to let King Charles attend Cop27 summit in Egypt next month after PM ‘advised monarch against going to conference’
- Alok Sharma has urged Liz Truss to let King Charles attend the Cop27 summit
- He said climate change ‘transcends politics’ and welcomed the King’s presence
- Mr Sharma claimed many around the world see Charles ‘as a leader in this area’
- Ms Truss previously advised the King and Prince Williams to avoid the meeting
A Cabinet minister has urged Liz Truss to let King Charles attend the Cop27 summit in Egypt next month after the Prime Minister reportedly advised the monarch against going to the climate change conference.
The under-fire Conservative leader has come under mounting pressure to say if she will visit the climate talks after it emerged that she had advised the King to stay away from the meeting of world leaders – and that his son the Prince of Wales would also not be going.
Now Alok Sharma, whose role as president of the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow last year gives him a cabinet seat, pressed Miss Truss to attend the conference – and to rethink Charles III’s presence.
Speaking from Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, he said: ‘This is absolutely an issue that transcends politics. This is ultimately about ensuring that we protect our planet for future generations.’
He added: ‘I would certainly welcome the King’s attendance at Cop27. I know that many people around the world see him as a leader in this area.’
King Charles III receives Prime Minister Liz Truss in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace
Alok Sharma arriving in Downing Street in London
The King was reportedly planning to make a speech at the meeting of world leaders in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, in November.
It comes amid growing suspicion that the Government is planning to water down or even abandon its target of ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2050. The Palace said advice had been sought by the King and was given by Miss Truss. ‘With mutual friendship and respect there was agreement that the King would not attend,’ the Palace said.
But the decision is likely to have disappointed the King, who as Prince of Wales had a long history of campaigning to reduce the effects of climate change. As heir to the throne he also had a reputation for interfering in government business, most recently expressing his distaste for the Government’s plan to send illegal immigrants to Rwanda.
The Prince of Wales attending the United for Wildlife (UfW) Global Summit at the Science Museum in London
After the death of his mother, friends insisted he will not cool on the issue of global warming.
But as monarch he is obliged to remain politically neutral, and in his address to the nation after the Queen’s death, he acknowledged that ‘it will no longer be possible to give so much time to the… issues for which I care so deeply’.
Before his ascension to the throne last month, King Charles had indicated he would attend the 27th UN Climate Change Conference, known as Cop27, which will run from November 6 to 18.
A source told the Daily Mail there had never been any firm plans for the King to go, though he has attended previously, leading to speculation he would again this year. As all foreign visits are undertaken at the request of the British Government, advice was sought by the Palace.
The ‘unanimous’ decision, it has been suggested, is that with so many demands for the King to be deployed abroad, Cop27 would not be the ‘right occasion’ for his first overseas visit as sovereign.
Sources highlighted his address to the nation following his mother’s death, in which he stressed that he remains ‘ever mindful’ of his constitutional role in light of his change of circumstances.
As previously highlighted by the Mail, it is understood that the environment will remain central to his work as sovereign.
Prime Minister Liz Truss arrives at her hotel ahead of the annual Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham
In 2015, he delivered the opening address at Cop21 in Paris, describing climate change as the greatest threat facing humanity.
In a hard-hitting speech the King echoed Winston Churchill by calling on ‘the few’ to take action to save the planet, urging world leaders to commit ‘trillions, not billions, of dollars’.
He also delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of Cop26 in Glasgow last year, calling on world leaders to adopt a ‘warlike footing’ to deal with climate change. Although he will not attend Cop27 in person, it is understood he is still determined to make his presence felt, leaving the door open for a virtual appearance.
Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood said in a tweet that he hoped the King would be allowed to go to Egypt, adding that he was a ‘globally respected voice’ on the environment whose attendance would add ‘serious authority’ to the British delegation.
While Boris Johnson became an enthusiastic advocate for net zero, Miss Truss is thought to be more sceptical of the green agenda.
A government source said: ‘The Palace and the Government considered separately, and then agreed jointly, that… he is not going to be attending Cop.’
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