A Green politician in Britain has been accused of hypocrisy after it was revealed that he flew to the COP26 summit in Glasgow rather than taking a train after criticising the government for a “lack of action” on the supposed climate crisis.
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty who represents locals in the left-wing hotbed of Brighton and Hove in the South of England issued a grovelling apology on Tuesday for his “major failure of judgement” after it emerged that he took a flight to the climate change conference in Scotland.
The Green Party politician joined the ranks of thousands of supposedly climate-conscious delegates who appeared at the United Nations meeting after travelling by plane.
After making the 460-mile journey, Cllr Mac Cafferty appeared at a climate rally alongside teenage activist Greta Thunberg as well as giving a speech about the importance of cutting carbon emissions.
“In the Friday evening just gone, I took a flight from London to Glasgow to attend COP26 where I had been invited to represent the city at a presentation of the Glasgow Declaration on Saturday morning,” he told The Argus.
“This decision to fly was a major failure of my judgement which goes against my political group’s pledges and principles and I unreservedly apologise.”
The incident is particularly embarrassing as the Green Party called for the government to discourage flying, the construction of new runways, and even to ban advertisements for flights in its 2019 election manifesto.
The Green politician claimed that he had been “concerned about the unreliability of the rail network” and therefore decided to fly to the COP26 meeting.
— Cllr Phélim Mac Cafferty (@Phelimmac) November 6, 2021
This excuse did not stop calls for him to step down as the leader of the council, however, as Conservative councillor Dawn Barnett branded him a “hypocrite” and called on the party to give up control of the council.
“He stands there preaching and bleaching and saying what we should do but he doesn’t follow the rules. It is very hypocritical of him,” she said, adding: “I would like to see the Greens step down as a party.”
Tory MP Chris Green also took at the apparent hypocrisy of the Green politician, writing on social media: “Why is it that so many ‘true believers’ on the pilgrimage to their spiritual home do the work of their devil?
“It can’t be that difficult to avoid clambering in an airplane to COP26 or perhaps it is more about control than carbon?”
The leader of the Reclaim Party, Laurence Fox quipped: “They are the exact thing they accuse you of. Example no. 1,458,612”
The Glasgow summit has been beset by accusations of hypocrisy, with both Prime Minister Boris Johnson and heir to the British Crown Prince Charles opting to use private jets to attend the meeting in their own country.
The egos have landed.https://t.co/7WejO9J9mT
— Simon Kent (@sunsimonkent) October 31, 2021
Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka