As the school summer holidays and Parliamentary Recess draw to a close it has been a pleasure to spend much of the last few weeks at home in Wiltshire and to enjoy some wonderful time, in our beautiful surroundings, with family and friends.
In my new role as President of COP26, I have been busy pushing ahead with the UK’s bid to host the UN Climate Change conference in 2020 and earlier this month I travelled to Glasgow to announce that we have chosen the UK’s 4th largest city of Glasgow to be the venue. If we are successful, COP26 will bring 30,000 delegates and hundreds of world leaders to Scotland next November and I know Glasgow will be a wonderful UK venue for this global event.
Many have heard of the landmark Paris Agreement which in 2015 brought all nations into a common cause to combat climate change, with a shared goal of curbing the global temperature rise this century to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and to increase support for those countries who are already suffering the consequences of climate change. Since then, annual COPs have refined the Treaty, set measurement boundaries and developed a rule book but the 26th COP, due to be held in November 2020, will be the most important meeting since 2015 as the promises made in Paris are up for scrutiny and review.
Of course, I am not the only politician who has been busy over the last few weeks and as you will have seen the Prime Minister is turbocharging the negotiations and preparations so that the UK finally leaves the EU on 31 October and I share his determination that we do not prolong the uncertainty and instability that the Brexit impasse has created.
Without a deal, the Government's own analysis shows that GDP could be lower compared to current trading arrangements over the next 15 years and I have always maintained that No Deal would be damaging to our national and local economy. That said, I have also been clear that I will not engage in any Parliamentary manoeuvres to try and block No Deal, as I think this dilutes our negotiating efforts and also risks not being able to deliver Brexit at all. Let me assure you that when Parliament returns next week that I will be supporting the PM to deliver the best possible Brexit so that we can all refocus efforts on the things that really matter to us all such as investing in the NHS, cutting crime, tackling Climate Change, and levelling up growth and opportunity across the country.