PM’s spokesperson for Cop26 suggests joining Greens to solve climate crisis

Boris Johnson’s former press secretary, who is now his spokesperson for the Cop26 climate summit, has said people could join the Green party as a way of saving the planet – while also saying joining the Tories would help as well.

Allegra Stratton, who moved from Downing Street to the Cop26 team in April, after plans were axed for daily TV briefings which she had been expected to front, made her comments to the Independent.

She told the paper: “When people say to me, ‘what can they do?’, they can do many things, they can join Greenpeace, they can join the Green party, they can join the Tory party.

“So there’s lots of ways they can get involved in politics, but for those people who wouldn’t, how do you start to change your life in manageable, achievable, feasible, small ways?”

It is understood Stratton was responding to a question about what people should do if they believed government actions on the climate emergency were too unambitious, and they preferred the policies of parties such as the Greens.

The comments prompted a welcome from the Green party. Jonathan Bartley, the co-leader of the Greens in England and Wales, said: “After decades of inaction from both the Conservatives and Labour, we would absolutely agree with the government that joining the Green party is the best thing people can do to help tackle climate change.

“As we witness the Conservatives waste time talking about loading dishwashers and fantasy projects such as Jet Zero, it is reassuring to see that they do understand it is only the Greens who can bring about the real change that is needed if we are to prevent climate catastrophe.”

The reference to dishwashers follows an article Stratton wrote this week for the Telegraph in which she outlined possible “micro steps” people could take to reduce their personal environmental impact.

Ideas included not rinsing plates before putting them in a dishwasher, buying shower gel as a cardboard-wrapped bar, and freezing rather than throwing out half-used loaves of bread. She said she was ‘“not pretending these steps will stop climate change” on their own, but that they could contribute.

Stratton said her advice was about “trying to connect with people” who found the idea of combating the climate emergency “too much and too overwhelming to process”.

She said: “You will have a net zero strategy from us before Cop26. You’ll have a series of strategies from us in the next few months. We are doing the heavy lifting. What I’m trying to do is speak to people who may not be doing anything.”

The Cop26 conference in Glasgow in November is widely viewed as a crucial moment in the world’s remaining chances to avoid a runaway climate emergency.

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