THERESA May was criticised by climate strikers after refusing to engage with them. While the leaders of Labour, the SNP, the LibDems, Plaid Cymru, and the Greens all took part in an article in the Guardian organised by the protesters, the Tory chief declined to take part.

Jeremy Corbyn praised the school-aged protesters: “By taking to the streets today to make their voices heard, young people are educating us about how important tackling climate change is to their generation.

“They are right to be worried about what kind of planet they will inherit and right to demand far-reaching action. Governments cannot sit back, leaving major decisions to market forces. It hasn’t worked and it never will. Polluting corporations will never do anything serious to solve the crisis.”

Nicola Sturgeon, said the “urgency of climate change” meant it was “right that we are all challenged to constantly reassess our approach and to see where we can do more."

She added: “It is of course extremely important that school pupils attend their lessons, and as First Minister, I could not condone repeated absences during term time. But in Scotland our schools teach and encourage our young people to engage in public debate and to learn about the issues that concern them.”

READ MORE: Thousands of young people in Scotland join climate change strikes

Vince Cable, the outgoing LibDem chief, said the protesters were right “to highlight what is the most serious issue facing any of us.”

He added: “The hostility now levelled at young people who are taking a stand on this issue demonstrates that these strikes are noticed by those in power.

“It’s now up to Westminster to act responsibly – coming together across parties – to act on the demands of those who care about our planet. The failing Brexit project has crowded out too many important issues over the last three years, and it’s time our political system addressed itself once again to climate change.”

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said if he were a school pupil today then he would be out striking against climate change and “would make sure the whole school was striking with me.”

He added: “The reason couldn’t be simpler: time is running out.”

In a video, produced by the Conservative Environment Network and aimed at the young protesters, Environment Minister Michael Gove said he agreed with the strike.

“Collective action of the kind you’re championing can make a difference and a profound one,” he said.