United Kingdom government replaces O'Neill as president of U.N. climate summit

James Marshall
February 3, 2020

LONDON-In a surprise move, the woman appointed to run the crucial United Nations climate summit in Glasgow in November has been sacked.

Ms Perry O'Neill did not respond to attempts by The Daily Telegraph to contact her, but a spokesman for her referred to a tweet in which she said: "Very sad that that the role I was offered by Boris Johnson previous year has now been rescinded as Whitehall "can't cope" with an Indy cop unit".

Mrs O'Neill, a former energy minister who served under David Cameron and Theresa May when she was known as Claire Perry, had been due to play a key role presiding over the event and trying to forge an agreement.

In a statement, the government confirmed she no longer held the role.

It couldn't "cope" with an independent unit managing preparations for the conference, she said.

'Preparations will continue at pace for the summit, and a replacement will be confirmed shortly.

O'Neill - formerly Perry - had been at the forefront of the UK's climate efforts under the Conservatives, having been appointed as Minister for Energy and Clean Growth within BEIS in June 2017, a role which saw her launch the Clean Growth Strategy that year before later being promoted to attend cabinet meetings from 2018.

Claire O'Neill has been ditched as President of COP26, in a shock move by Downing Street that will reportedly see all preparations for co-hosting the crucial United Nations climate summit in Glasgow later this year folded into the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

O'Neill's replacement will be a ministerial role, the statement added.

This will come as a shock to numerous business and environmental groups working with her in the run-up to the summit.

Boris Johnson has axed the president of the major climate summit which the United Kingdom is hosting later this year.

But Mrs O'Neill, who stood down as an MP at the election, will now be replaced by a serving minister.

'The Prime Minister is grateful to Claire for her work preparing for what will be a very successful and ambitious climate change summit in Glasgow in November.

Some might wonder whether the United Kingdom government has allowed itself enough time.

They say there is no agreed budget.And they warn that Boris Johnson provoked a backlash in Scotland by shutting First Minister Nicola Sturgeon out of the summit. She has been heaping pressure on the organising team to publish an agenda, and she's trodden hard on many toes.

During her time as energy minister civil service unions raised concerns about claims that Ms Perry O'Neill swore and shouted at civil servants. With many major nations refusing to offer deeper cuts in emissions, she has been focusing on potentially deliverable outcomes such as global agreements from industrial sectors to pollute less.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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