She also implied Boris's promises aren't worth the paper they're written on.
The former Energy and Climate Change minister says Boris Johnson told her that he doesn’t get climate change.
Clare O’Neill, formerly known as Clare Perry, told the Today Show: “Boris Johnson has made incredibly warm statements over the years, he’s also admitted to me that he doesn’t really understand it [climate change].”
After the presenter responded “really? He said that?” O’Neill replied: “He’s said all sorts of things over the years.”
When the presenter asked if he said he doesn’t understand climate change, O’Neill said: “He doesnt really get it, is what he said, but others around him do.”
O’Neill was the Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth under Theresa May before being replaced with Kwasi Kwarteng when Boris Johnson became Prime Minister in July 2019.
In September 2019, she was put in charge of organising the COP climate conference in Glasgow in November 2020.
She decided not to run for parliament in the December 2019 election and in January 2020, the UK government sacked her from her climate conference role.
The government said this was because they wanted a serving minister organising the conference but O’Neill says it is because “Whitehall “can’t cope” with an Indy cop [climate conference] unit”.
Speaking on the Today Show, she said: ““My absolute desire for action and movement has not been comfortable for some who thought it was a more incrementalist job.”
She added that on climate change the UK is “miles off track from where it needs to be.”
Using a football analogy, she said: “Our efforts are somewhere around the middle of League One. We’re playing at Oxford United levels when we need to be Liverpool.”
O’Neill finished by quoting another former minister Amber Rudd: “Boris is the life and soul of the party but you wouldnt want him to drive you home.”
O’Neill added: “My advice to anyobody to whom Boris is making promises, whether it is voters, world leaders or family members, is to get it in writing, get a lawyer to look at it and make sure the money is in the bank.”
O’Neill is not the only former colleague to criticise Johnson. His predecessor as Tory London Mayoral candidate Steve Norris described him as “cynical and self indulgent” and a “total chancer”.
The chair of Johnson’s fire and emergency adviser Brian Coleman said Norris was “absolutely right”, adding “spent half my meetings as his Fire Chairman telling him what I had told him at the last meeting”.
Roger Evans, one of Johnson’s deputy mayors, added “I very quickly learned to brief him in less than five minutes. Any longer was wasted time”.
While a minister, O’Neill was pro-fracking, releasing a so-called ‘fracking mythbuster’ which was rebutted by Friends of the Earth. She also had to apologise after falsely claiming that Labour never introduced the minimum wage.
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