A minister who criticised Caroline Lucas for raising climate change during a statement on Hurricane Irma has links to the oil industry.
Alan Duncan told the Green MP she was “lacking humanity” when she suggested the government needed to be talking about climate change as a whole off the back of the widespread devastation caused in the Caribbean after the deadly storm hit this week.
Lucas asked Duncan to “reassure the House that we don’t have to wait for a hurricane to hit the UK before we have the kind of policies we need from this government to tackle climate breakdown”.
She added: “Without that, we are not going to see the kind of climate leadership in theory that it [the government] likes to claim in practice.”
Duncan received widespread criticism after he claimed the Brighton Pavillion MP had “deeply misjudged the tone of the House” by raising the wider issue of climate change - including for his links to the oil industry.
“We are seeing people in deep and urgent immediate need and we are also leading the world on climate change, and she ought to show a bit more urgent and immediate humanity than make the point she’s made today,” the Foreign Office minister said.
According to the Register of Members’ Interests, which records any financial interests MPs have which may affect their actions or decisions in Parliament, Duncan made £8,000 a month between February and July 2016 for acting as non-executive chairman of Fujairah Refining Ltd, a United Arab Emirates-based firm which operates oil refineries.
The entry states the Rutland and Melton MP was paid the sum for “an expected annual commitment of about 156 hours, comprising three weekend board meetings each involving around 52 hours’ work including preparation and travel” and that he consulted the independent Advisory Committee on Business Appointments about the role.
He later received a £50,000 contractual severance payment after he resigned from the position in July last year.
The Green Party has teamed up with crowdfunder Crowdpac to raise cash for those affected by Hurricane Irma, which has left some islands almost completely destroyed.
Lucas said: “Climate breakdown is happening now and people’s lives and homes are being destroyed as a result. It’s heartbreaking to see. Yet the UK government has consistently refused to take the urgent action required to keep global temperatures within safe limits - and we want it to properly deal with the full consequences of its actions.
“We cannot stand aside and do nothing whilst people’s lives are turned upside down by climate chaos.”
Paul Hilder, co-founder of Crowdpac, which is waiving its own fees on all donations made to the fund, said: “People everywhere are appalled to see the devastation of Hurricane Irma. Caroline has taken the lead in connecting this emergency to the climate crisis and calling for bolder action. Her crowdfunder is a way for citizens to help those on the frontline, while challenging government to do more.”
You can donate to the fund here.