King to miss Cop27 as No 10 and Palace agree trip would not be ‘right’
The King has been advised not to attend the Cop27 climate summit in Egypt, Downing Street acknowledged, arguing it is not the “right occasion” for him to make the trip.
No 10 conceded for the first time on Friday that Charles had been urged not to attend the United Nations conference in Sharm El-Sheikh.
Charles is a long-term campaigner against the climate crisis but Downing street said it was “unanimously agreed” he would not attend, with Rishi Sunak also ruling out going.
Downing Street had previously been refusing to comment on a Sunday Times report that said Liz Truss had told the King not to go during a meeting in Buckingham Palace in September, while she was still prime minister.
I’m not aware that that advice has changed but obviously any confirmation of the King’s travel would be for the Palace
But, on Friday, a No 10 spokeswoman said: “As is standard practice, Government advice was sought and provided under a previous PM, and it was unanimously agreed that it would not be the right occasion for the King to visit in person.
“I’m not aware that that advice has changed but obviously any confirmation of the King’s travel would be for the Palace.”
Earlier in the day, Cabinet minister Therese Coffey had said whether the King attends or not was “up to him”.
“I’m conscious that King Charles has always taken a very deep interest in the environment and climate change,” she told Sky News.
“Of course, it would be up to him to decide how he chooses where to put his priorities in his reign as King.”
She said the “big Cops” tend to be every five years, adding that “many members of the royal family” attended the UK summit last year.
“But, in between, it tends to be more of a – I’m not going to say low key – but not quite the same level of heads of state and prime ministers attending,” she said.
Charles and his elder son, William, the then-Duke of Cambridge, both spoke at last year’s Cop26 event in Glasgow, while the Queen recorded an opening address urging the assembled world leaders to take action on climate change.
No 10 has insisted the Government remains “absolutely committed” to leading international action on the climate issue despite Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s absence at Cop27.
Downing Street suggested the public would expect Mr Sunak to be in the country dealing with the “serious economic challenges” facing the UK, rather than at the summit in Egypt.
It comes as former culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, hit out at the Prime Minister for choosing not to attend.
She challenged fellow ex-minister Jacob Rees-Mogg on his assertion that Mr Sunak was “right” to miss the summit, tweeting: “For balance, my friend … the Prime Minister is WRONG not to go to COP.
“Global warming is the biggest crisis facing our planet and net zero creates many 1000s of jobs which is good for the economy. Cop in Glasgow was most successful ever … but don’t expect media to report that.”
In response, the No 10 spokeswoman said: “The Government remains absolutely committed to leading international and domestic action to tackle climate change and to protect nature.
“We are facing serious economic challenges. The Prime Minister is focused on dealing with those issues, and the public, I think, would also expect him to be in the country… dealing with those and ahead of the autumn statement.
“But we’re also very clear that the public should also judge us by our actions and we are forging ahead of many other countries on net zero, for example.
“We will, of course, also be represented at senior ministerial level with the foreign, business and environment secretaries all due to attend alongside the Cop president.”
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