David Cameron and William Hague reject Boris Johnson plea to head up UN climate summit
David Cameron and William Hague have rejected a plea from Boris Johnson to head up a major climate change summit, it has emerged.
The Times reports that the former Tory leaders were each approached by the Prime Minister to take on the top role at the United Nations COP26 event in Glasgow later this year.
According to the paper, both men were asked before the sacking of former Tory MP Claire O'Neill, who was initially given the job of running the summit.
Lord Barker of Battle, a former energy minister under Mr Cameron, told the BBC: "My understanding is that he [Mr Cameron] felt it was just a little too soon for him personally to come back into a frontline political role."
In a statement, the former Prime Minister said: "It was an honour to be asked to chair this important conference and it was kind of the Prime Minister to consider me, but my view is that these things are best done by a government minister so there is one person in charge, one chain of command, rather than two.
"I also have existing commitments this year, not least to Alzheimer's Research UK; but I wish the government well with hosting this conference."
Ms O'Neill was removed from the post of summit president last week as Downing Street argued it would be better treated as a "ministerial role".
But that triggered a furious pushback from the sacked adviser, who took to the airwaves on Tuesday to claim that the Prime Minister had admitted he "doesn’t really understand" climate change.
She said: "My advice to anybody to whom Boris is making promises – whether it is voters, world leaders, ministers, employees or indeed, to family members – is to get it in writing, get a lawyer to look at it and make sure the money is in the bank."
Other candidates touted as replacements for Ms O'Neill in next week's reshuffle include Cabinet ministers Michael Gove and Lord Goldsmith.