Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is facing fury after spending “at least £500,000” of taxpayer money on a private plane to Australia, it has been claimed.
Campaigners have accused Ms Truss of exuding “shocking privilege” by mounting an “outrageous source of carbon emissions”.
Ms Truss left for Australia on January 18 at noon from London Stansted Airport.
His private trip had two pit stops, according to flight data, with a 90-minute stop in Dubai and another in Kuala Lumpur.
He landed in Sydney shortly after midnight on Thursday, January 20, and a taxpayer-funded PR photographer cataloged his journey.
Had she traveled business class on a Qantas Airways flight, the chancellor could have arrived in Australia five hours earlier.
Simon Dawson/No. 10 Downing Street)
And she wouldn’t have expended as many carbon emissions because the flight from London would have taken her directly from London Heathrow to Adelaide, Australia.
An aviation source told The Independent that the cost of operating Ms Truss’ trip would have been “at least £500,000”, while more expensive business class tickets that also offer reclining beds would have cost slightly more. from £7,700.
A Foreign Office source told the Mirror that Ms Truss needed to fly private so she could work safely and have the flexibility to leave for another destination in the event of a crisis in another region, such as Eastern Europe.
Labor Party Deputy Leader Angela Rayner said: “Liz Truss shows the public exactly how little respect this Conservative government has for taxpayers’ money with her ridiculous waste of half a million pounds on a private plane trip.
“This government is brazen in its disregard for upholding decency.
“It is obscene that government ministers are jet-setting yet raise taxes and refuse to do anything to help working families as they feel the effects of the cost of living crisis.
“The Conservatives waste disgusting amounts of public money on their own vanity and comfort, Labor wants families to see a cut in energy bills, that’s the difference.”
Liberal Democrat trade spokeswoman Sarah Olney MP added: “This is a staggering waste of taxpayer money at a time when so many families are feeling the squeeze.
“Once again, we see how out of touch this Conservative government really is for the millions of people struggling to get by.
“Liz Truss should apologize for traveling on ‘Air Force Sun’ and assure the public that she will not spend their money this way again.”
Ms Truss used the private Airbus A321 to, from and around Australia, the newspaper said.
It has luxurious interiors that include wide soft cream-colored seats that fold down to become reclining beds.
The plane could seat around 200 people without a deluxe configuration, and even with deluxe seats it can fit dozens of passengers. The Foreign Office has not said how many people were in Truss’s delegation.
Decked out with the Union flag and the words United Kingdom, it is believed to be a privately owned aircraft regularly chartered from the government for official travel.
The same plane flew Boris Johnson back from the COP26 summit in Glasgow to London in November, in what the Labor Party called “staggering hypocrisy”.
The prime minister could have taken a train, but taking the flight allowed him to have dinner with the Daily Telegraph reporters at the men-only Garrick Club.
The plane was due to return to London anyway because it had flown the prime minister to the G20 summit in Rome and then directly to Glasgow.
At the time, No10 insisted it was “one of the most carbon-efficient aircraft of its size in the world”, producing 50% less CO2 than the government’s leading Voyager aircraft.
It runs on a “mix of 35% sustainable aviation fuel and 65% normal fuel, which is the maximum amount allowed and obviously the emissions will be offset,” No10 claimed in November.
Reports state that Ms Truss spent two days meeting with government officials in Australia before flying to Adelaide, where she gave a speech.
He left Adelaide at 10:50 p.m. on January 22 according to Flightradar24, with his plane refueling once again in Kuala Lumpur and Dubai.
Truss’s plane arrived at Stansted Airport at 1:20 p.m. on January 23.
Anna Hughes, director of Flight Free UK, said: “Liz Truss has consistently shown her lack of understanding of the steps we all need to take to tackle the climate crisis, and this is no exception.
“Flying to Australia and back on a charter plane is surprisingly privileged and an outrageous source of emissions in the current climate emergency.”
In a policy document called Back to Black that Ms. Truss co-authored in 2009, she, along with others, described how: “All public sector workers must feel personal responsibility for the money they spend and the money they spend. they save.
“They should spend taxpayers’ money at least as carefully as they would their own.
“This change in mindset would be reflected in everyday changes, such as traveling in economy class instead of business class, to changes on a larger scale focused on value for money.
“It should start at the top with MPs reviewing spending that they have been used to claiming and trickling down across the sector.”
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “There is a need for the Foreign Secretary to travel abroad to pursue UK interests around security, trade and technology, as she did during this visit to Australia.
“This trip used government transport and was completely within the rules set out in the Ministerial Code.”
Ms Truss landed back in London a day before Cop26 chairman Alok Sharma said world leaders must “keep promises” on climate change.
Sharma told a Chatham House event: “Unless we deliver on the promises made, to turn the commitments in the Glasgow Climate Pact into action, they will wither on the vine.
SNP Environment spokeswoman Deidre Brock MP said: “Once again Liz Truss has serious questions to answer about her grotesque misuse of taxpayers’ money to fund her high society lifestyle.
“Taxpayers will be appalled that Foreign Secretary Tory is reported to have wasted over half a million pounds of our money on a luxury private jet trip and to have emitted tons of unnecessary carbon emissions during a crisis. climate.
“Ms Truss has a history of wasting public funds. Recently, she was criticized for splurging over £1,000 on a single lunch, drinking high-end wines at a private Mayfair club owned by a Tory donor.
“With a record like this, Lavish Liz will be a fitting successor to Boris Johnson.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.