Climate change activist Greta Thunberg, 16, meets Westminster party leaders

MPs rushed back from their holidays today to be photographed alongside the 16-year-old schoolgirl behind the school climate ‘strikes’.

Politicians including John Bercow, Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband welcomed Greta Thunberg to Parliament, where she made a speech about climate change.  

Miss Thunberg is the teenager whose refusal to go to school because of global warming  led to children around the world skipping classes to protest.

She came to Britain last week and spoke to the activists camping out in Marble Arch and causing chaos to London‘s transport networks.

Today, she met political leaders at Westminster, including Mr Corbyn, Vince Cable and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas at Parliament.

MPs were keen to be photographed with Greta Thunberg during her visit to Parliament

MPs were keen to be photographed with Greta Thunberg during her visit to Parliament

MPs were keen to be photographed with Greta Thunberg during her visit to Parliament

Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband were quick to get pictures of themselves with the schoolgirl on their Twitter profiles

Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband were quick to get pictures of themselves with the schoolgirl on their Twitter profiles

Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband were quick to get pictures of themselves with the schoolgirl on their Twitter profiles

Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband were quick to get pictures of themselves with the schoolgirl on their Twitter profiles

Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband were quick to get pictures of themselves with the schoolgirl on their Twitter profiles

Conservative Simon Clarke and the Green Party's Caroline Lucas followed suit

Conservative Simon Clarke and the Green Party's Caroline Lucas followed suit

Conservative Simon Clarke and the Green Party's Caroline Lucas followed suit

Conservative Simon Clarke and the Green Party's Caroline Lucas followed suit

Conservative Simon Clarke and the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas followed suit

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’.

‘We probably don’t even have a future any more,’ she said.

‘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.’ 

Environment Secretary Michael Gove assured Miss Thunberg she had been heard as he admitted ‘we have not done nearly enough’.

MPs stood and clapped the youngster after she told them they didn't want to listen

MPs stood and clapped the youngster after she told them they didn't want to listen

MPs stood and clapped the youngster after she told them they didn’t want to listen

Teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg (centre) met politicians including Green MP Caroline Lucas (centre left) and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (centre right)

Teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg (centre) met politicians including Green MP Caroline Lucas (centre left) and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (centre right)

Teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg (centre) met politicians including Green MP Caroline Lucas (centre left) and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (centre right)

A place was left for PM Theresa May, who was chairing a cabinet meeting at the time

A place was left for PM Theresa May, who was chairing a cabinet meeting at the time

A place was left for PM Theresa May, who was chairing a cabinet meeting at the time

In a ‘no-chairing stunt’, opposition party leaders left an empty chair for the Prime Minister at the meeting. Theresa May was in a cabinet meeting at the time.

Organisers of Miss Thunberg’s event said that no response had been received to their invitation to the Prime Minister, but they were still hopeful she might attend at least part of the discussion.

Opening the talks, Miss Thunberg – who earlier met Commons Speaker John Bercow – told the MPs: ‘We just want people to listen to the science.’ 

Ms Thunberg’s visit to Parliament was organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group. Mrs May’s office said they did not know whether she had been invited. 

Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: ‘It was a pleasure welcoming UK youth climate strikers and Greta Thunberg 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.’

Ms Thunberg met politicians including Environment Secretary Michael Gove and former Labour leader Ed Miliband

Ms Thunberg met politicians including Environment Secretary Michael Gove and former Labour leader Ed Miliband

Ms Thunberg met politicians including Environment Secretary Michael Gove and former Labour leader Ed Miliband

Speaking at an event in London yesterday, Greta called on the UK to hold a general strike over climate change. 

The schoolgirl then told Radio 4’s Today programme this morning that there needs to be ‘a level of panic’ over climate change.

She added: ‘If your house is on fire then that does require some level of panic. You don’t sit talking about insurance claims and rebuilding – you do everything you can to put out the fire.’

The Nobel Peace Prize nominee is also expected to meet the leaders at around 11.30am on Tuesday before giving a speech at a meeting in Portcullis House at around 2pm.

Six months ago, the then-unknown Miss Thunberg camped outside Sweden’s parliament next to a hand-written sign that read ‘Skolstrejk för Klimatet’ (School strike for the climate).

She tweeted this message to her 460,000 followers on Twitter from Parliament this morning

She tweeted this message to her 460,000 followers on Twitter from Parliament this morning

She tweeted this message to her 460,000 followers on Twitter from Parliament this morning

She skipped school every Friday to sit on the steps of the Riksdag and soon became a global success following her first TED talk – which now has more than a million views.

But questions have been raised over whether the teenager’s rise to global fame is actually a carefully laid out public relations campaign.

The school strike coincided with the launch of a book about climate change written by her mother, well known opera singer Malena Ernman, according to Swiss magazine Die Weltwoche.

Miss Thunberg denied that the book launch had anything to do with her personal school strike.

 

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