Boris Johnson asked David Cameron and William Hague to do UN climate change summit in Glasgow

Boris Johnson wanted David Cameron and William Hague to front 2020 United Nations climate change summit but they turned him down, report claims

  • A rift formed between Cameron and Johnson over Brexit during 2016 campaign
  • The PM approaching one of his predecessors suggests tensions have healed 
  • Minister Claire Perry O’Neill was sacked as president of the summit last week  

Boris Johnson asked former Tory leaders David Cameron and William Hague to front this year’s United Nations climate change summit in Glasgow but both turned him down, it was reported yesterday.

Mr Cameron is thought to have rejected the offer before Lord Hague was sounded out.

It came after former Tory minister Claire Perry O’Neill was last week sacked from her job as president of the summit in November. 

The approach to Mr Cameron suggests Mr Johnson has healed a rift with his former Eton friend which formed during the 2016 Brexit referendum.

Mr Johnson refused to answer questions about Mrs Perry O’Neill’s departure yesterday as he appeared on stage in London alongside Sir David Attenborough to preview the summit. He described the planet as being ‘swaddled in a tea cosy’ of carbon dioxide.

Boris Johnson asked former Tory leaders David Cameron (pictured with Johnson in 2015) and William Hague to front this year’s United Nations climate change summit in Glasgow but both turned him down, it was reported yesterday

Meanwhile Mrs Perry O’Neill claimed Mr Johnson ‘doesn’t understand’ environmental change as she launched a furious attack on him.

In a leaked letter published in the Financial Times yesterday she accused his team of carrying out a ‘dark ops’ smear campaign against her. 

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘The Prime Minister has made incredibly warm statements about this [climate change] over the years.

‘He has also admitted to me that he doesn’t really understand it. He doesn’t really get it.’ She insisted Britain’s efforts to fight climate change were ‘miles off track’. 

Mrs Perry O’Neill added: ‘My advice to anybody to whom Boris is making promises…is to get it in writing, get a lawyer to look at it and make sure the money is in the bank.’

She had been a business and energy minister responsible for climate change before stepping down as an MP before the election in December. She was to oversee the summit, known as COP26, but was sacked on Friday.

Mr Cameron is thought to have rejected the offer before Lord Hague (pictured) was sounded out

Mr Cameron is thought to have rejected the offer before Lord Hague (pictured) was sounded out

Friends of Mrs Perry O’Neill have claimed that she is considering an unfair dismissal case against Mr Johnson.

The row threatened to overshadow the UK’s official launch of the summit yesterday at the Science Museum in Kensington. 

Mr Johnson refused to answer questions about who will replace Mrs Perry O’Neill amid speculation that former Environment Secretary Michael Gove may take on the role.

He told his audience: ‘We’ve put so much CO2 in the atmosphere collectively that the entire planet is swaddled in a tea cosy of the stuff.

‘The evidence is now overwhelming. We know as a country, as a society, as a planet, as a species, we must now act,’

Downing Street brushed off the row with Mrs Perry O’Neill. A spokesman stressed that Mr Johnson had positioned the UK as a world leader on climate matters.