Following Zac Goldsmith’s scathing resignation letter this morning, in which he claimed he was quitting over the government’s “apathy” to climate change, Downing Street have now published Rishi’s reply, which tells a slightly different story. Goldsmith supposedly refused to apologise for calling the Privileges Committee “a Kangaroo Court”…
“You were asked to apologise for your comments about the Privileges Committee as we felt they were incompatible with your position as a Minister of the Crown. You have decided to take a different course.”
Not one to be bounced into an apology…
Read the full letter below (don’t worry, it is shorter than Goldsmith’s):
UPDATE: Goldsmith responds, calling Number 10’s briefing “misleading” and adding he is happy to apologise:
“In response to some misleading briefing from Number 10, I’d like to make clear I am happy to apologise for publicly sharing my views on the Privilege Committee. I firmly believe our Parliamentary democracy can only be strengthened by robust exchange and scrutiny and Parliamentarians should of course be free to be critical of its reports & proceedings. But as a Minister I shouldn’t have commented publicly. Number 10 asked me to acknowledge that and made clear there was no question of my being sacked if I did so. I was -and am- happy to do so.
In the scheme of things, neither my comment about the Committee nor N10’s request are of consequence. However the substance of my letter to the Prime Minister absolutely are.
My decision to step down has been a long time coming. As I explained in my letter to the PM, I have tried hard in recent months to protect and build upon a strong UK record of international environmental leadership. That job has become significantly harder on his watch and I am saddened by the damage being done to our reputation globally as a result. When I compare what I and my amazing team in government were able to do before the current PM took office with the lethargy of today, I can no longer justify being in government. I sincerely hope he reflects on the substance of my letter and of similar views expressed by so many others.”
“Thank you for your letter. I accept your resignation.
You were asked to apologise for your comments about the Privileges Committee as we felt they were incompatible with your position as a Minister of the Crown. You have decided to take a different course.
I am grateful for your service as Minister for the Overseas Territories, Commonwealth, Energy, Climate and Environment. You have been a vocal advocate for some of the most important issues that the UK and the world face today.
Your time in office has been marked by historic UK successes at COP26 and COP27, as well as the Biodiversity COP in Montreal last year. I commend your leadership on forests, which secured endorsement from 145 countries of the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use. You have also made a vital contribution to delivering our international climate finance and other programmes, including the development of the Blue Belt programme, the Biodiverse Landscapes Fund and the Global Forest Finance Pledge.
We can be proud of the UK’s record as a world-leader on net zero. We are going far beyond other countries and delivering tangible progress whilst bringing down energy bills. This Government is also committed to leaving the environment in a better state than we fund it, as set out in our Environmental Improvement Plan.
The UK continues to play an important role globally in tackling climate change and preserving the environment. I attended COP27 in Egypt in November last year and reconfirmed our f11.6 billion climate finance pledge. I also announced that we would triple our climate adaptation funding to El .5 billion a year by 2025 and committed £90 million to the Congo Basin as part of £1.5 billion we are investing in protecting the world’s forests. I co-hosted the first meeting of our Forests and Climate Leaders’ partnership. which will deliver on the historic commitment by 145 countries at COP26 in Glasgow to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030.
Even in the last few weeks we have taken this international leadership into the recent G7 Leaders’ Summit in Hiroshima and the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact in Paris last week, where the Minister of State for Development represented the UK.
I wish you all the best for the future.”