WHETHER or not the Prime Minister will attend COP27 is "under review", Downing Street has confirmed. 

The PM is under mounting pressure to attend the climate conference in Egypt. 

The Financial Times (FT) had reported that Rishi Sunak could open the door to a possible U-turn over his decision not to attend COP27.

The Prime Minister has come under growing criticism from Tory MPs and opposition parties for his decision not to attend the climate summit.

A Number 10 spokesperson said: "The Prime Minister fully recognises the importance of the COP summit and is fully committed to addressing climate change."

On whether Sunak's decision could change, the spokesperson added: "I think that the Prime Minister set out that the public would rightly want him to focus on the domestic issues, particularly on restoring fiscal credibility and delivering on a budget that works for the British people.

"There is substantial progress being made on that and so we are keeping the position on COP under review."

The FT reports that, on Sunday, Sunak’s allies said the Prime Minister’s priority “first and foremost has to be focusing on domestic issues” but they left open the possibility he might be able to fit in the summit which begins on November 6. 

Tory minister Mark Spencer told BBC Breakfast on Monday morning: “I’m sure if his diary allows he would want to go, but at this moment in time we don’t quite know whether he’s going to have time to do that.

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“But rest assured there will be serious ministers out there and big hitters because the UK is very keen to play its part in dealing with the challenges we face in the environment globally.”

“Going depends on progress”, one source told the newspaper, adding that the Prime Minister’s diary was focused on dealing with the economic crisis and the government’s autumn statement due on November 17. 

Last week, Downing Street said Sunak would not attend the COP27 summit in Sharm-el-Sheikh because of “pressing domestic commitments”. 

US President Joe Biden and French leader Emmanuel Macron are among those who will attend. 

Downing Street’s acknowledgment on Sunday that Sunak might find time to go to the COP27 summit came after Tory MP Alok Sharma, who served as president for COP26 in Glasgow last year, was critical of the Prime Minister’s priorities. 

He told the Sunday Times: “I’m pretty disappointed that the Prime Minister is not going.

“I understand that he’s got a huge in-tray of domestic issues that has to be dealt with. But I would say that going to COP27 would allow for engagement with other world leaders. 

“And I think it does send a signal – if the Prime Minister was to go – about our renewed commitment to the issue.”

Former Cabinet minister Nadine Dorries said on Twitter that it would be “wrong” for the Prime Minister not to attend the summit. 

Elsewhere, the SNP have been critical of Sunak’s decision not to attend the conference, describing it as a “complete failure of leadership”.