Tory ministers have defended their plans for the UK heatwave – it turned out party members are still assessing climate change as their lowest priority.
As the country prepares to grind to a halt thanks to temperatures that could reach 41C (106F), Kit Malthouse insisted the government is ready.
However, he admitted lessons would be learned – as he advised people to “take it easy” over the next few days.
It came as a new poll found that just four percent Conservative Party Members rank the net-zero emissions target for 2050 as one of their top three priorities for the new leader.
YouGov’s poll for the Times found that winning the next election, controlling immigration and alleviating the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on families topped the list.
It came after the cabinet minister who headed the landmark UN last year climate change The Glasgow summit has hinted that he could resign if the next Prime Minister does not fully commit to the Net Zero agenda.
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Mr Malthouse, today defended Boris Johnson’s decision not to attend a Cobra meeting because of the heatwave and instead spend the weekend partying at Checkers.
He told Sky News: “It’s my job to chair Cobra meetings. I informed him personally about 8am yesterday morning.’
As the country prepares to grind to a halt thanks to temperatures reaching 41C (105F), Kit Malthouse insisted the government is ready.
Heavy traffic on the M4 near Bristol is telling people not to travel unless they have to, as most of the UK has a yellow warning and some places a red high temperature warning.
A sign at London Bridge Station about the heat The Met Office warns temperatures could soar to 40C
“Of course if you’re lucky enough not to be working today and you’re going to the beach, I know you’re going to take plenty of sunscreen and water and an umbrella and all those things and be sensible.
“But we have to recognize that there are some people who aren’t coping well with the heat and we want everyone to look after them.
“A lot of people will go about their lives quite normally, for example we have said that schools should stay open and children should go to school, very often they are safer in schools and children need to study and schools can take care of them and keep them hydrated and keep them nice and cool.
But he also told the BBC: “We definitely need to adapt the way we build buildings, the way we work and look at some of our infrastructure in light of what seems like the increasing frequency of these types of events,” he said he BBC radio.
He urged people to “pay attention to the groups most vulnerable to the heat” – particularly young children and the elderly.
In conversation with The Observer Yesterday, Mr Sharma urged the new prime minister to be “proactive” in showing his support for the net zero agenda and “green” growth.
Cop26 leaders in Glasgow agreed to try to limit global warming to 1.5C – and Britain has committed to becoming net zero by 2050.
Climate experts are warning of increasingly frequent extreme weather events like those seen across Europe and the UK, stressing that the impacts of climate change are not coming, they are already there.
“Anyone who aspires to lead our country must show that they take this issue incredibly seriously, that they are willing to continue to lead and take on the mantle that Boris Johnson began,” he said.
Asked if he could step down if the candidates were weak at net zero, Mr Sharma said: ‘Let’s see, shall we? I think we need to see where the candidates are. And we’ll have to see who actually finishes in 10th place.
“I hope each candidate will see why this matters so much to voters in general and why it matters to Conservative supporters. And I hope that we will see, especially with the last two, a very clear statement that this is an agenda that they support.’
Pressed a second time, he added: “I’m not ruling anything out and I’m not ruling anything out.”
Of the five remaining candidates in the contest, only Kemi Badenoch has said she does not support Britain’s target of net-zero emissions by 2050, calling it “unilateral economic disarmament”.
The others have shown varying degrees of enthusiasm for the policy, which is unpopular with some sections of the party amid concerns about the impact on the economy.
This fire in Gironde, France, prompted the evacuation of more than 12,000 local residents this week for their safety
Cop 26 President Alok Sharma said: “I hope every candidate sees why this is so important to voters in general and why it is important to Conservative supporters.”
Britain is set to experience its hottest day on record today as temperatures soar to 41C (106F) – with trains already cancelled, doctors’ offices and schools closed amid dire warnings that fit and healthy people could die.
With Britain set to be hotter than the Sahara and the nation facing paralysis, transport links could grind to a halt due to train cancellations and melted roads, while bosses have urged staff to work from home.
Health chiefs urged patients to stay away unless it was an emergency amid fears hospitals will be overwhelmed, while emergency services urged swimmers to stay away from lakes and rivers if they encounter difficulties should.
Schools in Nottinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire have closed while others are set to close early – and water utilities also warned of shortages yesterday after the hottest day of 2022 so far, with highs of 33C (91F).
As health officials declared a ‘national emergency’, parts of London were already affected by rail chaos this morning – the overground has been suspended between Willesden Junction and Richmond and Romford and Upminster.
On the Tube, the District, Central, Bakerloo and Jubilee lines experienced severe delays, while the Hammersmith & City line was canceled entirely due to “heat-related restrictions” and there was no metropolitan line between Baker Street and Aldgate . Transport for London urged all passengers in the capital to avoid unnecessary travel.
The scorching heat means the UK will be warmer than Nassau in the Bahamas (32C), Kingston in Jamaica (33C), Malaga in Spain (28C), Athens in Greece (35C), Albufeira in Portugal (28C) and Dakhla in western Sahara (24C).