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Minister suggests the King can decide to attend Cop27 if he wishes

King Charles III (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
King Charles III (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

A minister has suggested the King can make his own decision on whether to attend an international climate conference in Egypt, amid reports that the Prime Minister advised the monarch not to attend.

Liz Truss reportedly objected to King Charles III attending Cop27, due to take place in Sharm el-Sheikh next month.

Speaking during a series of broadcast interviews on Friday morning, climate minister Graham Stuart said “where King Charles decides to go, I think is very much up to him”, but added that “ministers doubtless would advise”.

But Mr Stuart also said that he did not know if the report of the Prime Minister’s intervention was correct.

Buckingham Palace has confirmed that Charles will not be attending the international gathering, despite his long-standing commitment to environmental issues.

The Sunday Times reported that the decision not to go was taken after the Prime Minister raised objections during an audience with the monarch at the Palace last month.

“It’s been clear this is a decision that has been made consensually between the King and the Government,” Levelling Up Secretary Simon Clarke said earlier this week.

Any suggestion that the King was “ordered to stay away” are “simply not true”, Mr Clarke said.

Ms Stuart, asked when asked about the reports, said on Friday: “Where King Charles decides to go, I think is very much up to him.”

Asked again if the reports were correct, he said: “I don’t know.”

Graham Stuart
Graham Stuart (Victoria Jones/PA)

And then challenged over whether he as climate minister would like the King to go, Mr Stuart said: “I don’t think it’s for ministers … to be telling the King what he should or shouldn’t do.”

Asked again about the reports when speaking on LBC, Mr Stuart said: “I don’t. I can’t comment on that.

“Whether the King, Charles, goes to Sharm (el-Sheikh)… would have thought would be up to him, although ministers doubtless would advise.”

By convention, all overseas official visits by members of the royal family are undertaken in accordance with advice from the Government.

Before he ascended the throne, there had been speculation that, as Prince of Wales, Charles would go to Egypt, having addressed the Cop26 summit in Glasgow the previous year.