Climate change, the biggest danger humanity faces, is taking centre stage in the election as party leaders face questions about how they will tackle the issue in a TV debate on Thursday night.
A poll before the election revealed the majority of Brits say climate change would influence how they voted.
Parties will vie for the votes of those concerned about the environment in what, despite subjects such as Brexit and the NHS, has been dubbed by some as “the climate election”.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Brexit Party’s Nigel Farage have been accused of chickening out of the hour-long Emergency On Planet Earth debate on Channel 4 News at 7pm. (- Some clues as to why they might not wish to participate below.)
#ChickenBoris trends on social media
#ChickenBoris and #ChickenJohnson were both trending on social media as the news emerged that Johnson is avoiding a potentially tough interview with the BBC’s Andrew Neil.
After both Nicola Sturgeon and Jeremy Corbyn received a mauling from the ruthless interrogator, all eyes were on the PM to see if his plans stood up to scrutiny.
But Johnson is refusing too be pinned down for an interview.
That’s in spite of the fact that the BBC told Labour they had an interview with Johnson in the bag planned for next week before Corbyn put himself forward for a rowdy interview with Andrew Neil.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, Scottish First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, Plaid Cymru’s leader Adam Price and Green co-leader Sian Berry have agreed to take part.
Boris Johnson chickens out of Andrew Neil interview and local hustings too
Labour’s candidate seeking to unseat Boris Johnson in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency also revealed that Johnson is refusing to turn up to a local hustings with him – a traditional democratic convention in elections.
Ali Milani tweeted his frustrations that Johnson was snubbing the crucial local democratic institution.
The Conservative party is not sending any other minister to represent them at Thursday night’s Channel 4 climate debate.
Invitations to Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage remained open, the programme said.
Tory and Brexit Party climate change denial links
Research by Desmog UK recently revealed that Boris Johnson has received more donations than any other UK politician from backers of climate change denial, with the Conservative party hoovering up 94% of donations by backers of climate change denial.
Boris Johnson may also be swerving the debate as his government has failed to honour Parliament’s climate emergency vote.
Many candidates of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party have also indulged in denial of climate change too despite the scientific consensus.
The first leaders debate on climate change takes place in the wake of the latest warnings from UN experts of rising levels of climate-warming greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the need for swift and dramatic cuts in emissions to avoid the most dangerous impacts of global warming.
Leaders are likely to face questions over the level of ambition and feasibility in their plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the UK to zero overall, and the date they have pledged to achieve it by.
Presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy said: “This debate has been called for by hundreds of thousands of people from all sorts of different walks of life.”
He urged Boris Johnson, who has said he does not want to debate Nicola Sturgeon because she cannot become prime minister, to change his mind, promising him he would get a fair hearing.
Rebecca Newsom, head of politics at Greenpeace UK, which backed a public petition to secure the debate, said: “The climate and nature emergency is a top concern for UK voters and an issue our politicians will have to put at the heart of their economic strategy for the foreseeable future.
“They must seize this opportunity for a greener and fairer future.
“The public will be looking to see who among the party leaders understands the gravity of the situation and has the policies and conviction to tackle it.”