Rishi Sunak shuts down BBC climate change interview after question about private jet use

Prime minister Rishi Sunak shut down an interview on Good Morning Scotland today (31 July) after he was questioned over his use of private jets and commitments to climate change. 

The Conservative PM, who is due to fly to Aberdeenshire today, appeared on the radio show to discuss plans for new oil and gas drilling licences in the North Sea – despite continued warning from environmental groups about the pressures of climate change.

In a heated interview with host Martin Geissler, Sunak was asked if he will be travelling to the north east of Scotland by private jet. 

“I’ll be flying as I normally would and that is the most efficient use of my time”, Sunak responded. 

He went on to say the question “brings to life a great debate here” and defended his use of private jets despite political and public backlash, saying “every Prime Minister before me has also used planes to travel around the United Kingdom”. 

“If you or others think that the answer to climate change is getting people to ban everything that they’re doing, to stop people flying, to stop people going on holiday, I think that’s absolutely the wrong approach,” the prime minister said. 

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Geissler hit back by claiming Rishi Sunak was using a “do as I say, not as I do” approach when it comes to climate policies. 

Rishi Sunak continued by saying ‘banning’ holidays  – something Geissler did not mention – was “utterly wrong” and is “absolutely not the approach” the Tories are taking. 

“What we are doing is investing in sustainable aviation fuel as one of the new technologies like carbon capture and storage will help us make the transition. 

“It’s not about banning flying. It’s about investing in new technologies like sustainable aviation that will make flying more sustainable. That’s the right approach to this,” he said.  

In a bid to get off the call, Sunak forced the end of the interview by saying “bye bye”. 

Prior to the end of the segment, Sunak did say he would come back onto Good Morning Scotland to discuss these issues in more depth. 

Sunak said: “This is the second time I’ve been on your show in the short space of time I’ve been Prime Minister, but I’m sure I’ll be there again in the future.”