For the latest reaction see below. Claire Perry O’Neill has been sacked by the Prime Minister from her job as President of COP 26 – the United Nations climate change summit to be held in Glasgow in November 2020.
She was appointed to the role by Boris Johnson in July 2019 – and withdrew from standing again as MP for the Devizes constituency.
She tweeted that she was ‘very sad’ that her role had been ‘rescinded’. And went on to criticise the government: “A shame we haven’t had one Climate cabinet meeting since we formed. Wishing the Cop team every blessing in the climate recovery emergency.”
A Cabinet Office statement said simply: “Claire Perry O’Neill will no longer be UK Cop26 president…Going forward, this will be a ministerial role.”
The November summit will see the most vital negotiations since the Paris Agreement of 2015.
It was only on Wednesday (January 29) that Mrs Perry O’Neill’s successor as Devizes MP, Danny Kruger, spoke duringhis maiden speech in the House of Commons about her job: “This vital role is crucial for the future of our country and the world. I wish her all the very best in this…”
A source in the COP26 unit told The Guardian newspaper: “Claire has seriously underperformed, including at Davos and on a recent ministerial visit to India. She had said ‘the Paris agreement is dead’ in key meetings to the surprise of everyone.”
“She didn’t seem to get that this is a diplomatic job. The senior team of officials in the unit couldn’t work with her and her erratic behaviour and poor performance has spooked key stakeholders in the UK and internationally. She had to go. The PM now needs to show he is taking this seriously by appointing a heavy-hitting minister.”
Professor Dave Waltham has been writing on climate change matters for marlborough.news. He told us: “I’m shocked. I may not have agreed with everything that Claire Perry O’Neill said, but she was genuinely committed to getting a good result from Cop26. Everything now depends upon who replaces her and when.”
“If a heavy hitting senior Tory with a record of campaigning for action is appointed quickly, and sits in cabinet, then maybe this could still be a positive step. Hopefully, we’ll get some indication on Tuesday”.
When Mrs Perry O’Neill announced she was withdrawing from Parliament, she said that she will continue to live in the constituency.