British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is keen for his predecessor David Cameron to take over from business minister Alok Sharma as president of next year’s United Nations COP26 climate change summit, ITV political editor Robert Peston reported.
However, Cameron has not agreed to take up the post because of his strong objections to a cut in Britain’s foreign aid spending commitment announced last month, Peston said.
The summit is due to take place in the Scottish city of Glasgow in November next year. A spokeswoman for Johnson’s Downing Street office had no immediate comment on Peston’s report.
Peston said on Twitter that ministers had told him it was unsustainable for Sharma to be the president of COP26 while at the same time doing his job as UK business minister at a time of severe economic challenges from the COVID pandemic and Brexit.
“Boris Johnson would dearly love David Cameron to take over from Sharma. But Cameron can’t, on principle, because he is hopping mad about Johnson cutting the commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on overseas aid,” Peston said.
Johnson’s government announced on Nov. 25 that it would reduce its foreign aid spending commitment to 0.5% of gross domestic product from the previous target of 0.7%.
Cameron, who was prime minister from 2010 to 2016, had been among the most vocal supporters of the 0.7% target and said he “deeply regretted” the government’s decision to cut it.
Peston said the ministers had told him it was unsustainable for Sharma to do the COP26 job part-time after U.S. President-elect Joe Biden appointed John Kerry as his country’s full-time negotiator.