LONDON— In a stunning turn of events, Lord Goldsmith, the Foreign Office Minister known for his dedication to environmental causes, tendered his resignation in protest against what he perceives as a lack of commitment from the Sunak government towards addressing crucial environmental issues.
Lord Goldsmith’s departure comes as a severe blow to the government and raises concerns about its stance on climate change. Lord Goldsmith, a former Conservative MP who lost in the 2019 election, was given a seat in the Lords by Boris Johnson and continued his role as a government minister for the international environment.
In a scathing letter addressed to Rishi Sunak Lord Goldsmith accused the UK government of displaying disinterest in fulfilling climate commitments.
Sunak swiftly responded, disclosing that Lord Goldsmith had been requested to apologize for his critical remarks about the Privilege Committee in the House of Commons which declared that Boris Johnson had misled Parliament. According to Sunak, rather than offering an apology, Lord Goldsmith chose to step down from his position.
Addressing the issue, Sunak stated, “On Lord Goldsmith, he was asked to apologize about his comments, I felt those were incompatible with his position. He has chosen to take a different course. I accept that. I’m proud of the record of Government and of Zac in Government making sure that we tackle climate change.”
Zac Goldsmith however, issued a statement insisting that his decision to resign “has been a long time coming” and nothing to do with him being asked to apologize for the public criticism of the Privilege Committee.
The ongoing turmoil within the Conservative Party, marked by chaos and resignations, suggests that Sunak’s leadership may be tarnished by an apparent inability to effectively manage his own party.
Given Lord Goldsmith’s close alliance with Boris Johnson, his criticism of the current Prime Minister may not come as a surprise. Nonetheless, the political damage inflicted by his comments remains significant.