May snubs Greta

| 23rd April 2019
Theresa May, the prime minister, is 'empty chaired' as she fails to meet with climate uber activist Greta Thunberg.

You don't listen to the science because you are only interested in the answers that will allow you to carry on as if nothing has happened.

Schoolgirl climate activist Greta Thunberg has told MPs her future has been "stolen", adding "We probably don't even have a future any more."

Miss Thunberg visited the Houses of Parliament to speak to opposition leaders and make a speech to MPs.

The 16-year-old told a packed room in the Palace of Westminster that her future and those of her fellow children had been "sold".


She added: "That future has been sold so that a small number of people can make unimaginable amounts of money. It was stolen from us every time you said 'the sky is the limit' and 'you only live once'."

Miss Thunberg spoke alongside a panel of MPs, including Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Green MP Caroline Lucas, former Labour leader Ed Miliband and Lib Dem MP Layla Moran.

The schoolgirl said she knew politicians did not want to listen, as she started to experience microphone problems. She asked: "Is this microphone on? Can anybody hear me? Is my English OK? I am starting to wonder."

She added: "The basic problem is the same everywhere and the basic problem is that nothing is being done. You don't listen to the science because you are only interested in the answers that will allow you to carry on as if nothing has happened."

Gove told Miss Thunberg she had been heard as he admitted "we have not done nearly enough". He went on:"Suddenly in the past few years it has become inescapable that we have to act.


"The time to act is now, the challenge could not be clearer - Greta you have been heard."

Before her speech, Miss Thunberg had held a roundtable with party leaders, where prime minister Theresa May was empty-chaired after she declined to attend.

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn met the young activist and tweeted an image of himself with her in front of a portrait of Tony Benn. He wrote: "It was a pleasure welcoming UK youth climate strikers and @GretaThunberg to parliament. 

"Young people will be the most affected by climate change - seeing them take charge of their future is inspiring."Labour's committed to working with young people campaigning to save our planet."

After her speech, Miss Thunberg was asked what she would say to US President Donald Trump to steer him away from climate change denial. But the schoolgirl said there was nothing she could say as he would not listen.

Small steps

She said: "If I were to speak to Donald Trump today I don't think there is much I could say to make him change his mind. Obviously he must have scientists coming to talk to him all the time, so he is obviously not listening to the scientists.

"There is nothing I could say."

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said that she and other politicians at the roundtable - Mr Corbyn, Liberal Democrat Sir Vince Cable, the SNP's Ian Blackford and Plaid Cymru's Liz Saville-Roberts - had agreed to hold further cross-party discussions with youth climate strikers.

They would also support the UK Youth Climate Assemblies and to seek a common framework to ensure party policies are in line with international global warming recommendations.

Ms Lucas said: "Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time and it is only right that we work across party divides to show leadership on this issue. It is therefore deeply disappointing the Government refused to take part in today's discussion.

"Today, we have agreed a few small steps. The task ahead of us is to put into action real changes that will ensure young people are guaranteed a secure, safe and prosperous future. We must do what is scientifically necessary, not what's deemed politically possible."

This Author

Jennifer McKiernan is a Press Association political staff reporter. 

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