Rishi Sunak U-turns and will travel to Cop27 after Boris confirms he will attend crucial climate talks

2 November 2022, 10:08 | Updated: 2 November 2022, 13:27

Rishi Sunak will attend Cop27 - after Boris Johnson said he had been invited
Rishi Sunak will attend Cop27 - after Boris Johnson said he had been invited. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Rishi Sunak will go to Cop27 after U-turning on his previous insistence that he was too busy to travel to Egypt.

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The Prime Minister will now travel for the climate talks after saying that domestic problems were too pressing.

His change-of-tack comes within a day of his former boss Boris Johnson confirming he will travel to the UN event in Sharm-el-Sheikh.

Mr Sunak said: "There is no long-term prosperity without action on climate change.

"There is no energy security without investing in renewables.

"That is why I will attend @COP27P next week: to deliver on Glasgow's legacy of building a secure and sustainable future."

Rishi Sunak will now attend the Cop27 talks in Egypt
Rishi Sunak will now attend the Cop27 talks in Egypt. Picture: Alamy

Previously, his spokeswoman at No10 said he was not planning on attending the summit, a year on from the Glasgow talks which fell short of what climate advocates had hoped would secure binding agreements on environmental action.

His attempts to restore financial credibility after Liz Truss's disastrous tenure at No10, combined with the energy crisis, meant he was too busy to travel, it was said.

Read more: Boris Johnson confirms he will attend COP27 piling more pressure on Rishi Sunak to attend

"It is a recognition of other pressing domestic commitments, not least preparations for the autumn budget," the spokeswoman said, adding that he was still committed to net zero.

It is unclear if Boris Johnson's decision to go to Egypt featured in Mr Sunak's mind but observers questioned if he would be upstaged by the former PM's appearance there.

Mr Johnson told Sky News on Tuesday that he had been "invited by the Egyptians" and was "very happy to go".

"I happen to have a particular interest," he said.

Read more: 'Football trumps the environment': Nick Ferrari puts Thérèse Coffey on the spot over PM snubbing Cop27 conference

Boris Johnson confirmed he will travel to Cop27
Boris Johnson confirmed he will travel to Cop27. Picture: Alamy

Labour's shadow climate secretary mocked Mr Sunak.

Ed Miliband said: "Sunak on Thursday: I can't possibly go to COP.

"Sunak six days later: I can't possibly not go to COP.

"The guy is a phoney."

Cop26, which became a centrepiece event during the Johnson government, built on the earlier Paris agreement as states try to limit global warming by 2C above pre-industrial levels.

However, the Glasgow climate pact did not set out what each country must do and it is not legally binding.

It did set out a new framework for reporting emissions, common timeframes for targets to reduce emissions, and mechanisms and standards for global carbon markets.

Cop27 will begin on November 6.