MPs blast 'air miles Alok' Sharma over trips abroad

MPs blast ‘air miles Alok’ Sharma after it emerges the minister has flown tens of thousands of miles around the world for meetings as he prepares for the UK to host UN climate change summit

  • Alok Sharma is in charge of preparing for UN COP26 climate change summit
  • But minister is under fire after the extent of his international travel was revealed
  • MPs labelled him ‘air miles Alok’ and questioned why meetings weren’t virtual 

The minister in charge of organising a major UN climate change summit has been slammed by MPs after it emerged he has flown tens of thousands of miles in a matter of months for meetings. 

Alok Sharma, the former business secretary and now the President of the UN Cop26 conference due to take place in Glasgow in November, is leading the Government’s efforts to make people go green. 

But analysis by The Sunday Telegraph showed Mr Sharma had taken 25 flights in just three months since he began the role full-time back in January of this year. 

The numbers have prompted Tory MPs to label the minister ‘air miles Alok’. 

Alok Sharma, the former business secretary and now the President of the UN Cop26 conference due to take place in Glasgow in November, is leading the Government’s efforts to make people go green

But analysis by The Sunday Telegraph showed that Mr Sharma had taken 25 flights in just three months since he began the role full time back in January of this year. (Stock image)

Mr Sharma has repeatedly urged people to reduce their carbon footprint and to modify their behaviour to help in the battle against climate change.

In a speech earlier this month he reportedly said that ‘if we do not act now we will witness a global catastrophe the likes of which the world has never seen’.

Analysis suggested that Mr Sharma had travelled up to 73,853 miles between the end of January and the middle of May. 

The minister went on trips to 19 countries, including a 17-hour flight to Costa Rica and an 11-hour flight to Japan. 

The visits prompted questions from MPs over why meetings had to be conducted in person rather than virtually.  

One Conservative MP told The Sunday Telegraph: ‘While we have all been banned from leaving the country ‘air miles Alok’ has been jetting around the world to hand out lectures on why people shouldn’t fly.

‘This isn’t so much about preparing for COP26, it is a bit more like a gap year. Why didn’t he go online? They held the G7 online.’  

Daren Haworth, chief executive of climate consultancy C Level, also questioned the amount of flying by Mr Sharma given it is the ‘year of zoom’ and added: ‘Let’s hope it’s all essential for the climate negotiations and fully carbon balanced.’  

However, a Whitehall source defended Mr Sharma and said the minister had held virtual meetings with more than 60 countries.

But they added: ‘There are some meetings which have to be done in person if you want to make a success of it.’  

A UK Government spokesman said: ‘Virtual meetings play an important role; however, face to face meetings are key to success in negotiations the UK is leading as hosts of COP26.’ 

Source: Read Full Article