LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants his successor, David Cameron, to replace Business Minister Alok Sharma as president of next year’s COP26 climate summit, ITV political analyst Robert Peston reported.
However, Cameron refused to take up the post because of his deep concern over reducing Britain’s foreign policy commitments announced last month, Peston said.
The conference is expected to take place in the Scottish city of Glasgow in November next year. A spokesman for Johnson Downing Street’s office did not immediately comment on Peston’s report.
Peston said on Twitter the ministers had told him that it would not be tolerated for Sharma to become president of COP26 while at the same time performing his role as UK business minister during the difficult economic crisis that erupted in the COVID and Brexit epidemics.
“Boris Johnson would like David Cameron to take over from Sharma. But Cameron cannot step down because Johnson has reduced his commitment to spending 0.7% of his salary nationwide with the help of overseas aid,” Peston said.
Johnson’s government announced on November 25 that it would reduce its commitment to direct foreign direct investment of 0.5% of gross domestic product from its previous target of 0.7%.
Cameron, who was prime minister from 2010 to 2016, was one of the most vocal supporters of the 0.7% target and said he was “deeply saddened” by the government’s decision to step down.
Peston said ministers had told him that it would not be tolerated for Sharma to conduct COP26 on a temporary basis after US President-elect Joe Biden appointed John Kerry as his full-time liaison to his country.