Nicola Sturgeon criticises Theresa May over response to Donald Trump climate change withdrawal

Written by Kevin Schofield and Jenni Davidson on 2 June 2017 in News

Theresa May has expressed her disappointment to the US president but refused to sign a joint statement against the decision with France, Germany and Italy

Donald Trump - Image credit: Paco Anselmi PA Wire/PA Images

Nicola Sturgeon has accused Theresa May of an "appalling abdication of leadership" over her response to Donald Trump withdrawing the US from the Paris climate change agreement.

May has been accused of failing to stand up to Trump after he announced that America is withdrawing from the Paris accord on climate change.

The US president announced yesterday that he was fulfilling his promise to pull out of the agreement, which committed 188 countries to keeping global temperature rises "well below" 2C.

Donald Trump said the deal was bad for the American economy, but held out the possibility of the US re-entering the deal if it can be re-negotiated.

Theresa May expressed her "disappointment" at the decision in a phone call with the US president last night.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "President Trump called the Prime Minister this evening to discuss his decision to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement.

"The Prime Minister expressed her disappointment with the decision and stressed that the UK remained committed to the Paris Agreement, as she set out recently at the G7.

"She said that the Paris Agreement provides the right global framework for protecting the prosperity and security of future generations, while keeping energy affordable and secure for our citizens and businesses."

But May has been criticised for not putting her name to a strongly worded joint statement issued last night by France, Germany and Italy, which said the accord was "a cornerstone in the co-operation between our countries, for effectively and timely tackling climate change".

Nicola Sturgeon accused May of an "appalling abdication of leadership", while Labour's Emily Thornberry said the UK Government had "failed to raise even the quietest peep in protest".

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: "You have gone to Washington to hold Donald Trump's hand, now is the time to hold his feet to the fire. 

"If the special relationship between the Prime Minister and Mr Trump actually exists, it exists for moments like this. We need to make him see sense on climate change.

"Prime Minister: if your special relationship with Donald Trump means anything, prove it."

The Prime Minister has previously been criticised for being too slow to condemn President Trump's attempts to ban immigrants to the US from some Muslim-majority countries.

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