Rishi Sunak has reversed on his decision to skip Cop27 and announced that he will be attending November’s crucial climate summit in Egypt.
The prime minister had been under growing pressure to U-turn after his predecessor Boris Johnson confirmed he would be going to Egypt next week.
In apparent dig at the new PM, Mr Johnson said it had “become unfashionable” to talk about the sucesses of the previous Cop26 meeting held in Glasgow.
On Wednesday Mr Sunak tweeted: “There is no long-term prosperity without action on climate change. There is no energy security without investing in renewables.”
He added: “That is why I will attend Cop27 next week: to deliver on Glasgow’s legacy of building a secure and sustainable future.”
Downing Street had previously said Mr Sunak was not expected to attend the climate change summit “due to other pressing domestic commitments”, despite the UK handing over presidency.
But by Monday a No 10 spokesperson said the position was “under review”, before Mr Sunak announced the change on Wednesday.
Labour leader Angela Rayner said the prime minister had been “dragged kicking and screaming into doing the right thing” after he committed to attend the Cop27 climate summit. “Embarrassing,” she added.
Liberal Democrats’ climate change spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said Mr Sunak was “only going after being embarrassed by Boris Johnson’s attendance” and said the UK needs “action” from the prime minister.
Green MP Caroline Lucas – who had said she hoped Mr Johnson would “embarrass” Mr Sunak into going – said she was “glad to see Sunak’s screeching U-turn on Cop27”.
She added: “But what an embarrassing mis-step on the world stage. Let this be a lesson to him – climate leadership matters. Now he urgently needs to increase UK ambition on emission reduction targets and pay what we owe to global climate funds.”
Mr Johnson, ousted in the summer after Mr Sunak and other ministers resigned, said the summit had been a “fantastic global success” which did “a huge amount of good for the planet”.