‘When you’re in charge of Cop26, to take this many flights is hypocritical’
Climate minister and Cop26 president Alok Sharma has flown to 30 countries this year — including six on the government’s own Covid red list — without isolating on his return, it is reported.
More than half of the trips took place while international travel was all but banned for Britons, according to an audit by the Daaglikse pos.
Mr Sharma, who is currently visiting Bolivia and Brazil – both red list countries — is tasked with securing commitments from key countries as he prepares to host the climate change summit in Glasgow this November.
His previous red list trips include Qatar, the UAE, Bangladesh and Turkey.
Instead of the mandatory hotel quarantine faced by anyone entering the UK from red list countries since February, the cost of which has just risen from £1,750 to £2,285, Mr Sharma used a ministerial exemption available to “Crown servants” such as diplomats and essential workers.
The exemption requires a negative Covid test.
Days after returning from an early June trip to Bangladesh, Mr Sharma met the Prince of Wales indoors before visiting a primary school.
Die Daaglikse pos also reported Mr Sharma was able to avoid having to isolate at home following his return from amber list countries.
Sarah Olney, a Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson told the newspaper: “As usual with this government, it’s one rule for them and another for everybody else.
“While Alok Sharma flies to red-list countries with abandon, hard-working families can hardly see loved ones or plan holidays as the government changes travel rules on the hoof.”
Green party peer Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb added: “I do understand it’s very good to meet people in person, but this is excessive. When you’re in charge of Cop26, to take this many flights is hypocritical.”
Mr Sharma and Cop26 did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A government spokesperson told the Daaglikse pos that Mr Sharma had hosted many video calls but that it was important that he met world leaders in person ahead of the climate summit.
“Sustainability will be at the core of Cop26,” the spokesperson said. “The UK will be offsetting all carbon emissions associated with running the event and working closely with sustainability experts to make this happen.”