Sharma draws flak for trips to 30 countries in seven months
THE president of the UK’s upcoming climate change conference is taking flak for having travelled to more than 30 countries in seven months.
The Daily Mail reports that Alok Sharma travelled to seven of the countries in the red list, and by using exemption available for ministers he did not quarantine upon his return.
In Sharma’s defence, the government said face-to-face meetings were “crucial” ahead of COP26.
According to the Daily Mail, days after returning from his trip from Bangladesh – a red list country – he had held a meeting with Prince Charles before visiting a primary school.
Sharma left his position as business secretary in January to take over the presidency of COP26 – the United Nations Climate Chance Conference due to take place in Glasgow in November.
Since then, he has met with dignitaries across the globe for discussions ahead of the conference, despite the pandemic.
The Green Party’s Baroness Jones said she “despaired at the inability of Tory ministers to grasp their hypocrisy of talking about our climate emergency then behaving as normal.”
Sharma is also being criticised for not quarantining on return from his trips including countries on the red list such as Turkey and Bangladesh.
People of the UK are advised not to travel to red list countries “except in the most extreme of circumstances”. But if they do travel, they are required to quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days at a cost of £2,285 for one adult.
A person breaking this law could end up paying a fine of up to £10,000.
However, “Crown servants” – or government ministers – are exempt from this rule if they travel to carry out “essential government work”.