Darren Jones (Lab), chair of the business committee, asks if Johnson is personally interested in Cop26. And what does he want to achieve?
Johnson says he is becoming obsessed with it. He says it will have real impact. This is a charter for jobs, he says. This agenda provides the opportunity to turbocharge the economy.
And there is another aspect, biodiversity. He says it is a tragedy that so many species and so much habitat is being destroyed. We won’t address climate change unless we address our relationship with the natural world.
He says a lot of countries are coming forward and committing to getting emissions down to net zero by 2050.
Q: But Cop26 is not focused on biodiversity?
Johnson says he wants to use it to focus on biodiversity too, and he implies there is a follow-up initiative.
Philip Dunne (Con), chair of the environmental audit committee, asks if Alok Sharma, the new president of Cop26, will take questions in the Commons now that he has given up his business secretary role and is just focusing on the Cop26 presidency.
Yes, says Johnson.
Q: Huawei employees in Europe have to leave the company or go back to China if they marry a European. Isn’t that what you would expect from a government or an intelligence agency?
Johnson says the government has had to take some tough, and expensive, decisions relating to Huawei.
Johnson says he will be studing the EU-China deal. He wants a good relationship with China, but one where the UK speaks to them frankly. That should not stop them having a productive relationship where that is possible.
Q: Will you put privacy on the agenda for the G7?
Yes, says Johnson. He says we should be vigilant about China. He says Dominic Raab’s speech about the Uighurs yesterday was “terrific”. But he does not want the government to lurch into Sinophobia.
Q: What about a general agreement on data?
Johnson says he is looking at that kind of thing. He says he will explore that with the G7, and South Korea, Australia and India too.
Q: Are you happy an American company controls your communications with voters?
Johnson says there is a real debate to be had about this now that these companies are acting like publishers.
Tom Tugendhat (Con), chair of the foreign affairs committee, asks what Johnson’s priorities are for the G7 this year he is hosting.
“Building back better,” says Johnson. He says there was no international consensus about how to handle the pandemic. The global system failed, he says. There was a “sauve qui peut” environment. He would like a focus on jobs and trade.
When Johnson finally gets his chance to reply, he says the government is addressing left-over problems from Brexit, like rules relating to the sale of second-hand cars in Northern Ireland, and the export of seed potatoes.
If there are problems left over with Northern Ireland, article 16 is available, he says.
Sir Bill Cash (Con), the chair of the European scrutiny committee, is asking the next question. It is going on a bit …
Simon Hoare (Con), chair of the Northern Ireland affairs committee, is asking the questions now.
Q: What is happening to the Willam Shawcross report about possible Libyan compensation for the victims of IRA bombs supplied by Libya?
Johnson says he is grateful to Shawcross for the work he’s done.
He says this is a difficult issues. Libya is a divided state. Until there is a proper government in place, it is hard to make progress on compensation, he says.
The Shawcross work is important but we are “some way off” getting a solution to this.
Pete Wishart (SNP), chair of the Scottish affairs committee, says it is clear there will be a second independence referendum. Why won’t Johnson acknowledge that?
Johnson says Scotland had a referendum that was meant to last a generation.
Calling the SNP the Scottish nationalist party (they are the Scottish national party), he challenges Wishart to talk about the Oxford vaccine – claiming the SNP do not use the term.
Wishart says it is silly for Oxford to keep talking about the Oxford vaccine.
Q: Why can’t we just have a referendum?
Johnson says the SNP have to say what they mean by that.