Good morning. Boris Johnson is in New York for the United Nations general assembly meeting and on the flight over he had a lengthy chat with the journalists accompanying him. They filed his words as they landed, late last night. Here are probably the three most important lines.
- He said he would challenge the Amazon boss Jeff Bezos on the company’s tax record when they meet later today. Asked if he would ask Bezos about Amazon paying a fair share of tax in the UK, Johnson replied:
Yes, certainly. But I will also be congratulating him on his massive forestry initiative. He’s putting a huge amount into planting trees around the world.
But there was also an intriguing line from Johnson when he was asked about comments that Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the new international trade secretary, made in the past denying the climate crisis. Johnson defended her, but then he also admitted that in the past he had been wrong about climate change. He told reporters:
I don’t want to encourage you, but if you were to excavate some of my articles from 20 years ago you might find comments I made, obiter dicta, about climate change that weren’t entirely supportive of the current struggle, but the facts change and people change their minds and change their views and that’s very important too.
Johnson wrote many things in his career as a newspaper columnist that are embarrassing now that he is prime minister, but when challenged about these articles, normally he just brushes aside the complaints, or claims that he has been quoted out of context. A full admission of this kind that he was wrong is relatively rare.
Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: The ONS publishes new figures on Covid rates by demographic group.
11am: Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, holds a summit with energy industry bosses about the gas supply crisis.
11.30am: Downing Street holds its morning lobby briefing.
Around 2pm (UK time): Boris Johnson holds a meeting in New York with the UN secretary general, António Guterres. Afterwards they are expected to record a clip for the media.
2.30pm: Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, takes questions in the Commons.
After 3.30pm: MPs will debate the social security (uprating of benefits) bill. Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader, and Damian Green, Theresa May’s former first secretary of state, have tabled an amendment opposing the bill because it does not reverse the proposed £20 per week universal benefit cut.
For more Covid coverage, do read our global live blog.
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