Sunak ‘has to play to home audience’ says GB News host
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Rishi Sunak is “going to have to fight to have his voice heard” while Boris Johnson remains an active politician, a political commentator has said, hours after the former prime minister undermined the new incumbent of No10 in Egypt. Deputy Digital Political Editor for the Daily Express, Dan Falvey, said Mr Sunak is “going to find frustrating” the overbearing presence of the former Mayor of London, citing the fact that both politicians had drawn equal headlines over their announcements at Cop27, despite only Mr Sunak having the power to enact. On Monday, while Mr Sunak pledged to “triple” funding for those countries most affected by climate change, his former boss Boris Johnson accused policymakers of “looking backwards” regarding reparatory measures.
Mr Falvey said: “I think what Rishi Sunak is going to find frustrating about this is that Boris Johnson is probably just forever going to be there on the sidelines.
“We even had it when Rishi Sunak was deciding to become leader, [there were questions of] was Boris Johnson going to run, was he not going to run. He took all the headlines through that.
“We now have Cop27. The headlines have been largely split between the two of them. I think Boris Johnson has had just as many headlines as Rishi Sunak, and as Prime Minister, he wants to make his mark but is having to jostle for position against his former boss.”
Mr Falvey added: “It does mean that Rishi Sunak is going to have to fight to have his voice heard because it is not just this.
“There are a number of areas where Boris Johnson has made clear what his views are and we have had allies of Mr Johnson saying what he thinks about manifesto commitments in 2019 that need to be honoured.”
In a short speech at the UN climate conference in Egypt, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke of the moral necessity of helping those most affected by climate change just hours after Boris Johnson slammed the idea of climate reparations.
Mr Sunak promised to “honour our commitments on climate finance”, restating Britain’s pledge to spend £11.6billion on proactive policy between 2021 and 2025.
He also promised to “triple our funding to adaptation” to £1.5billion by 2025. This would involve giving money to those most affected by the changing climate, typically poorer nations such as Pakistan and regions in Africa.
The idea of “loss and damage”, effectively a form of reparation from the world’s greatest polluters to those most affected, was officially adopted on the Cop27 agenda on Sunday with the backing of the UK.
United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres called the practice a “moral imperative” that could “no longer be swept under the rug”.
Faced with extreme events such as devastating flooding in Pakistan, which cost the country $40billion and forced the exodus of millions of locals, the policy has been regarded as necessary.
But Rishi Sunak’s commitments were questioned both from within his party and by the opposition, who described his comments as “vacuous”.
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Boris Johnson even undermined Mr Sunak’s pledges before he had had the chance to make them, branding the idea of reparations as tantamount to “looking backwards”.
He admitted that Britain had pumped an “awful lot of carbon into the atmosphere” but “what we cannot do is, you know, make up for that with some kind of reparations. We simply do not have the financial resources – and no country could.
“The best way to fix this is not to look backwards and to try to tot up some bill for loss and damage that the UK or other countries have done, but to try to look at what the UK can do to help take countries forward and help them achieve the carbon reductions and green technologies [they need].”
Mr Johnson also branded the pro-fracking stance of former prime minister Liz Truss as “nonsense” in further dissent against his successors.
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