Grant Shapps Denies Queen's Climate Comments Were Dig At Government

The Queen was overheard criticising those who “talk but they don’t do”.
Shapps said the Queen's comments were 'made in private and should stay in private'.
Shapps said the Queen's comments were 'made in private and should stay in private'.
Chris J Ratcliffe via Getty Images

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has dismissed suggestions that criticisms made by the Queen regarding climate action were directed at the government.

The Queen was overheard criticising those who “talk but they don’t do” while attending the opening of the Welsh parliament yesterday alongside the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

A microphone picked up the Queen’s conversation about the upcoming COP26 climate summit in Glasgow later this month.

“We only know about people who are not coming... it is very irritating when they talk, but they don’t do,” the Queen was overheard saying.

Asked by Sky News whether the comments were referring to ministers, Shapps said comments “made in private should stay in private”.

“I think we all share the desire to see progress made and we know that there’ll be... hundreds of leaders coming to Glasgow for COP.

“We will wait to see whether it all lives up to — they all live up to — the expectations.

“It’s very important we get this job done.”

Pressed again on whether he thought the Queen was talking about the government, Shapps replied: “Well she specifically referred to who was coming, actually, so I don’t think it was intended in that sense, but nonetheless, she made the comments not intending it to be overheard.”

The UK’s presidency of the summit was dealt a blow following reports in the Times that President Xi of China — one of the world’s major polluters — will not attend the summit.

Shapps said he would “wait and see” whether Xi would attend the conference.

He told Times Radio he wanted China to be at COP but added: “Let’s wait and see actually what happens in a couple of weeks’ time. I would rather see it officially actually.”