Prime Minister Theresa May is under fierce attack from political opponents for her flaccid response to Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
In a statement issued after the White House announcement on Thursday, May expressed “disappointment,” but declined to sign a joint letter from France, Germany and Italy condemning the move.
Instead, she told Trump in a personal phone call that she believed the Paris agreement represented “the right global framework for protecting the prosperity and security of future nations.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused May of “subservience to Trump” and failing to show leadership.
“Given the chance to present a united front from our international partners, she has instead opted for silence and once again subservice to Donald Trump,” Corbyn said on Friday during a speech on industrial policy.
“It’s a dereliction of both her duty to her country and our duty to our planet. This is not the type of leadership Britain needs to negotiate Brexit or stand up to defend our planet in an era of climate change,” he said.
Former Labour leader Ed Miliband tweeted: “Why are you missing from this statement? You can’t stand up for Britain because you won’t stand up to Trump. Weak leadership.”
In a statement, Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry accused May of “cowardice.”
“It is bad enough that she failed so badly to persuade Trump to stick to the Paris agreement, but it is even worse that she lacks the backbone to stand up to him now. This proves that Mrs. May is the very last person we want negotiating for Britain on Brexit,” it reads.
Theresa May’s failure to sign the joint statement on Paris is a dereliction of duty to our country and our planet. pic.twitter.com/icQKS0an9H
— Emily Thornberry (@EmilyThornberry) June 2, 2017
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon accused May of an “appalling abdication of leadership” for failing to join Europe’s other G7 members in rejecting Trump’s call.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron attacked May, saying: “You have gone to Washington to hold Donald Trump’s hand, now is the time to hold his feet to the fire.
“If the special relationship between the Prime Minister and Mr. Trump actually exists, it exists for moments like this. We need him to see sense on climate change.”
Deeply regret US pulling out of Paris accord. No agreement is perfect, but unlike previous deals all key countries involved. Backwards step.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) June 2, 2017
Reacting to the controversial announcement, a Downing Street spokesperson told the Independent:
“President Trump called the prime minister this evening to discuss his decision to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement.
“The prime minister expressed her disappointment with her decision and stressed that the UK remained committed to the Paris Agreement, as she set out recently at the G7.
“She said that the Paris Agreement provides the right global framework for protecting the prosperity and security of future generations, while keeping energy affordable and secure for our citizens and businesses.
“The president made clear that the door remains open to future US involvement in the agreement.”
Trump’s decision means the US stands alongside only Syria and Nicaragua as nations not part of the deal. Trump has said he will try to negotiate a new, “fairer” climate change agreement.