Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said Labour could be at risk of damaging the national interest by criticising Donald Trump over his views on climate change.
The President-elect has previously claimed that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese and has threatened to destabilise the landmark Paris climate change agreement by refusing to sign up to the deal.
But speaking in the House of Commons, the Foreign Secretary rejected Emily Thornberry’s assertion that the election of Mr Trump – in relation to climate change – was a “hugely dangerous” development for the future of the planet.
Mr Johnson said: “I really must say to the right honourable lady that I believe she is being premature in her hostile judgements of the administration-elect.
“And any such premature verdict, I believe, could be damaging to the interests of this country. It is important for us in this country to use our influence, which is very considerable, to help the United States to see its responsibilities, as I’m sure they will.”
The shadow Foreign Secretary Ms Thornberry added: “As we meet today on the 53rd anniversary of John F Kennedy’s death we have this prospect of a very different president about the enter the White House in just a matter of weeks.”
She then asked Mr Johnson for his reasons for being positive about the President-elect’s views on climate change, to which he replied: “I think it’s vital that we are positive as we can possibly be about the new administration-elect. As I’ve said before to the House I believe the UK-US relationship is of vital importance and I think President-elect Trump is a deal-maker.”
“When it comes to climate change this is something the UK has led on globally – we have had outstanding success and yes, I am very open with the House, it is a message we will be taking to the administration that we believe to be important, we believe it to be in the interests of the United States and of the world.”
Mr Johnson also faced further embarrassment in the Commons today following the unprecedented suggestion from Mr Trump that the UK government should make the interim Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, the next ambassador to the US.
In a highly unusual intervention, the President-elect posted on his Twitter account: “Many people would like to see Nigel Farage represent Great Britain as their ambassador to the United States. He would do a great job!”
MPs in the Commons mocked the suggestion by recommending Hillary Clinton for the role of US ambassador to Britain.
Sir Simon Burns, the Conservative MP for Chelmsford, poked fun at the tycoon’s “extremely generous” advice. He said: “Although there is no vacancy, would the Foreign Secretary think this is extremely generous of Donald Trump to suggest who should be our ambassador in the United States?
“And in that measure of fraternity, might he suggest that the best person to fill the vacancy of the ambassador to the United Kingdom next year would be Hillary Rodham Clinton?
But Mr Johnson rejected the offer and dismissed any suggestion that Britain’s incumbent ambassador Sir Kim Darroch would be replaced. “We have a first rate ambassador in Washington doing a very good job of relating both with the present administration and with the administration to be, and there is no vacancy for that position,” he added.
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