Climate minister under fire for jetting to 30 countries – including several on red list


Alok Sharma, climate minister and COP26 president, is under fire for flying to dozens of countries since the start of the year.

Mr Sharma made 30 international trips in the last seven months, including to six countries which are on the government’s COVID-19 red list, the Daily Mail has reported.

According to the newspaper, half of the trips took place while international travel was all but banned in the UK.

He did not need to isolate after any of them because he is “crown servant” on state business, an exemption that does, however, require a negative covid test.

Sarah Olney, the Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson told the newspaper: “As usual with this government, it’s one rule for them and another for everybody else.

“While Alok Sharma flies to red-list countries with abandon, hard-working families can hardly see loved ones or plan holidays as the government changes travel rules on the hoof.”

Green party peer Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb added: “I do understand it’s very good to meet people in person, but this is excessive.

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“When you’re in charge of COP26, to take this many flights is hypocritical.”

The aviation industry is responsible for 2% of all human-induced carbon dioxide emissions, according to the air transport action group.

His Instagram feed shows him travelling to various countries, including India in February and Bolivia and Brazil more recently.

Mr Sharma is tasked with securing commitments from key nations as he prepares to host the climate change summit in Glasgow this winter.

His trips reportedly include visiting Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh and Turkey, all of which are on the red list.

Sources close to Mr Sharma defended the trips and told the newspaper that they were made as safe as possible.

“Face-to-face diplomacy is vital to securing commitments from key countries at COP26,” the source told the Daily Mail.

“All UK government ministers who travel abroad are subject to the same rules on quarantine and to a COVID secure testing regime.”

Sky News has approached Mr Sharma’s office for comment.

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