Senior environment minister Zac Goldsmith has sensationally quit the Government this morning, launching a blistering attack on Rishi Sunak.
Lord Goldsmith, a close ally of Boris Johnson’s and friend of his wife Carrie, published a lengthy letter accusing the Government of “apathy in the face of the greatest challenge we face” and saying it makes his role “untenable”.
He also accused the PM of backtracking on assurances to party members that he would continue pushing the Conservatives’ environmental action plan, saying he has been “horrified as, bit by bit, we have abandoned these commitments”.
A month ago the Government ditched Boris Johnson’s flagship Kept Animals Bill, which would have restricted the keeping of primates as pets, banned the export of livestock for slaughter and banned the import of dogs with cropped ears.
Lord Goldsmith claims: “Our efforts on a wide range of domestic environmental issues have simply ground to a standstill”.
He also blasts the Prime Minister for choosing to “attend the party of a media baron” last week instead of attending a “critically important environment summit in Paris that ordinarily the UK would have co-led”.
He damningly added: “Prime Minister, having been able to get so much done previously, I have struggled even to hold the line in recent months. The problem is not that the government is hostile to the environment, it is that you, our Prime Minister, are simply uninterested. That signal, or lack of it, has trickled down through Whitehall and caused a kind of paralysis.
“I will never understand how, with all the knowledge we now have about our fundamental reliance on the natural world and the speed with which we are destroying it, anyone can be uninterested.”
Lord Goldsmith came under fire just yesterday after being one of the 10 parliamentarians named in the Privileges Committee’s Special Report into loyalists of Boris Johnson who attacked their investigation into the former Prime Minister.
In response to Lord Goldsmith’s inclusion in the report, the Liberal Democrats said: “It is only right that Sunak sacks Zac Goldsmith from his role as Government minister if he wants to show any shred of integrity”.
However at yesterday’s No. 10 press briefing, the PM’s official spokesperson said Mr Sunak had confidence in Lord Goldsmith as a minister.
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