Good morning. Commons has launched a mini-recess, meaning Boris Johnson will not have to face what would otherwise have been an awkward PMQ that would no doubt have been dominated by vain attempts to get him to admit, what almost everyone else in government will admit – that last week’s Owen Paterson vote was a serious mistake for which an apology is needed.
Instead, Johnson is taking trains to the Cop26 conference “to meet negotiators, to get an update on the progress of the negotiations and to encourage ambitious action in the last days of the negotiations”, as No. 10 put it yesterday. Johnson is holding a press conference in the afternoon.
The press conference will focus on the climate crisis and what has been achieved at Cop26. There has been a welcome development at the summit, but overall, the verdict so far is very mixed at best, and Greenpeace International has described the draft summit agreement published this morning as “not a plan to solve the climate crisis … [but] an agreement that we all cross our fingers and hope for the best ”. My colleague Alan Evans has full coverage on our Cop26 live blog.
But Westminster political journalists are also on their way to Glasgow for the press conference, and Johnson has to face some questions about the sleaze / corruption allegations that continue to haunt the Tories.
Downing Street struggled to defend Sir Geoffrey Cox yesterday, and this morning his position looks even more dangerous in light of new allegations that he appears to have used taxpayer-funded parliamentary facilities to practically appear in court. Other Conservatives facing new questions about their external interests include Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former party leader (see here), and Daniel Kawczynski (see here).
Ed Miliband, the shadow business secretary, said this morning that Johnson’s trip to Glasgow – which was expected later in the week – looks like an attempt to divert attention from sleaze. He said:
It’s hard to avoid the suspicion that the Prime Minister sees a day trip to the policeman as a useful way to distract from the malice surrounding the Tory party rather than a chance to grab and engage in the substance as a statesman.
It is high time that Boris Johnson acknowledges that he is not a commentator, but should take responsibility for a summit that is not about to deliver. We are miles from where we need to be in the halving of emissions required by 2030. It is time for the government to face this truth, stop the greenwashing and put maximum pressure on all parties to step up and agree a way out of Glasgow to keep 1.5 alive.
Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30: ONS publishes a number of reports, including one that covers the impact of the budget on inflation, labor costs and labor income, and Covid antibody levels.
16.30: Boris Johnson to hold a press conference at the Cop26 summit.
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