Conservative MP, Alok Sharma, who is responsible for this year’s UN climate change conference in Glasgow, has flown to 30 countries in the past seven months.
According to reports, Sharma, who was appointed as Cop26 president in January has visited a host of countries at the start of the year when international travel from Britain was largely banned.
The Daily Mail reports Sharma has visited Brazil, Indonesia and Kenya since February. He took trips to India, Costa Rica, Qatar and the UAE in March with April including trips to the Far East, before he travelled to Bangladesh in June as the UK continued to battle the Covid-19 pandemic.
Not all of the countries visited were return trips to the UK with several countries visited at once before returning.
It is understood that the Conservative MP did not have to isolate after any of the journeys as he was exempt from such actions as a “crown servant”.
It is thought that 6 of the countries visited were on the UK’s red list at the time.
The shadow justice secretary has said that reports Tory MP Alok Sharma has flown to 30 nations in the last seven months without self-isolating are “hugely worrying”.
Asked about a story on the front page of the Daily Mail – which says the Cop26 president flew to 30 nations in the last seven months, six of them on the red list, without isolating once – Labour MP David Lammy told LBC: “That’s hugely worrying. I mean, the lack of self-isolation is bizarre and dangerous. And I think that it is probably impossible not to fly, of course, but I think he should be leading by example clearly.”
Lammy added the “optics” of reports of Alok Sharma flying to 30 nations in seven months are “it’s one rule for them and another rule for us”.
Asked on Sky News about the Government minister’s flights abroad and lack of self-isolation, the Labour MP said: “Well, the optics are very clear – it’s one rule for them and another rule for us, whether it’s Dominic Cummings, whether it’s Matt Hancock, whether it’s Alok Sharma.
“Of course some international travel is required, but this amount of international travel when you’re climate change minister feels to me bizarre, and feels to not be setting the example.”
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford told Sky News: “I’m afraid I do think it really undermines the effort that we know everybody has to make.
“We’ve all got used to having meetings with people in different parts of the world without needing to travel around the world to do it.
“And when we’re trying to persuade people to make the changes they need to make, we need to make, in our daily lives, transport, in our own homes, in the way that we think about the contribution we can make, we need the people at the very top to be demonstrating that they are doing that too, not thinking that that is for other people to carry that burden.”
A government spokesperson said: “Helping the world tackle the climate emergency is an international priority for the government. Virtual meetings play a large part, however face to face meetings are key to success in the climate negotiations the UK is leading as hosts of Cop26 and are crucial to understanding first-hand the opportunities and challenges other countries are facing in the fight against climate change.”
Glasgow is hosting Cop26, which will mark the first time since the Paris Climate Change conference in 2015 that new emission tagrets will be set.