Stanley Johnson has lived many lives. He was a Conservative MEP, once worked for the World Bank and has even appeared on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here because..?

But now, the man best known for being Boris Johnson’s father, has surprised the nation after he appeared on BBCNewsnight as an ‘environmentalist’.

Speaking about the UN’s climate change report, Johnson was called in to comment on what the government should do to mitigate against its worst impacts.

He said: “Where we are at the moment, facing what we face, I see one really important thing the government should do and this is to go strongly down the route of carbon taxing.”

Asked if he has tried to persuade his son to implement these taxes, he added: “I think he’s well seized of this one”, but said that there is caution in the government about offending India and China.

Reacting to his appearance, some people questioned Johnson’s credentials and thought that the BBC should have invited experts on climate change to speak about the issue, rather than the Prime Minister’s father.

Some also criticised him for travelling to Greece during the pandemic to get his property ready to be rented out, while other travel was banned. Flying, of course, isn’t the best thing to do for the environment.

In fairness to Johnson and the BBC though, Johnson does know a thing or two about the environment.

He was the Head of Prevention of Pollution Division at the European Commission from 1973 to 1979 and he is a trustee of the Gorilla Organisation and a board member of Plantlife International.

In 1983, he received the RSPCA Richard Martin Award for Outstanding Services to animal welfare, and in 1984 he received the Greenpeace Award for Outstanding Services to the Environment. He was also an ambassador for the UNEP Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals for many years and has published a number of books dealing with environmental issues including The Green Revolution,The Population Problem and The Politics of Environment.

A BBC spokesperson said that Johnson was one of seven guests taking part in the show, including lead author of the climate change report, Dr Frederike Otto, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Luke Pollard MP, and Conservative MP and member of the Environmental Audit Committee, James Gray.

They said: “The full programme focused on the environment and Mr Johnson was one of seven guests. He took part in a panel discussion, representing a range of views.”

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