Boris Johnson accuses Jeremy Corbyn of a ‘grotesque failure’ to understand the UK’s efforts to combat climate change as the PM shrugs off brutal criticism from sacked ex-minister over broken green ‘promises’
- Claire Perry O’Neill was sacked as the president of COP26 UN climate summit
- She accused Boris Johnson of a lack of leadership and broken green ‘promises’
- Jeremy Corbyn today attacked Mr Johnson at PMQs over the crunch issue
- Mr Johnson dismissed criticism and said it was ‘beyond satire’ given UK efforts
Boris Johnson today accused Jeremy Corbyn of a ‘grotesque failure’ to understand UK efforts to tackle climate change as the PM shrugged off criticism from a sacked ex-minister.
Claire Perry O’Neill was dismissed as president of the COP26 UN climate change summit last week and responded by hitting out at the PM’s record on green issues.
She claimed Mr Johnson had failed to deliver on ‘promises’ he had made on tackling global warming as she also accused him of showing a lack of leadership.
Mr Corbyn seized on the brutal criticism of Mr Johnson by the former Tory minister as he tried to score points at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.
But Mr Johnson rebuffed the criticism from the Labour leader and Ms O’Neill as he launched a passionate defence of his record on tackling climate change.
Boris Johnson, pictured at PMQs today, shrugged off criticism of his record on tackling climate change from former Tory minister Claire Perry O’Neill
Jeremy Corbyn said the PM was failing ‘spectacularly’ to provide leadership on the climate change issue
Mr Corbyn said the world was now at the ‘eleventh hour to save the planet’ as he listed Ms O’Neill’s criticisms of the premier.
Mr Johnson hit back and said: ‘I think if you look at what this government is achieving and already has achieved on climate change it is quite phenomenal.
‘You will know that last year was the first year on record that renewables produce more of the energy of this country than fossil fuels.
‘You will know that since the Conservatives came to power in 2010, 99 per cent of all the solar panels that have achieved that miracle were installed under this government.
‘We are delivering for the people of this country. We are reducing greenhouse gas. All you produce, I am afraid, is a load of hot air.’
Mr Johnson had reportedly asked former Tory leaders David Cameron and William Hague to take over the running of the climate summit but both declined.
Mr Corbyn ridiculed the PM as he suggested he could now ask another Tory leader, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, if he wanted to do the job.
He then asked: ‘Why is the Prime Minister failing so spectacularly to measure up to the scale of the climate crisis that this country and indeed this planet is facing?’
Mr Johnson dismissed the broadside and said: ‘This is beyond satire. This is the first country, the first major economy, in the world to have set a target of carbon neutral by 2050.
‘It is an absolutely fantastic thing and we are leading the world in our ambitions and we will have a wonderful summit in Glasgow, one of the most fantastic cities in our country, at the end of the year.’
But Mr Johnson hit back and accused Mr Johnson of a ‘grotesque failure’ to understand UK efforts to tackle global warming
He added: ‘I think the grotesque failure of the leader of the opposition to understand what is happening in this country’s economy let alone in the fight against climate change is quite mind boggling.’
Ms O’Neill, who stood down as a Tory MP at the December general election, was sacked as president of the November talks in Glasgow by the PM’s special adviser, Dominic Cummings, on Friday.
She claimed Mr Johnson ‘doesn’t really understand’ climate change as she launched a blistering revenge attack and accused him of reneging on green pledges.
The former clean growth minister claimed Mr Johnson had presided over ‘a huge lack of leadership’ on the issue, which had left the UK ‘playing at Oxford United levels when we need to be Liverpool’.
In a letter to Mr Johnson published by the Financial Times, Ms O’Neill told him: ‘You promised to “lead from the front” and asked me what was needed: “Money, people, just tell us!” Sadly these promises are not close to being met.’