Thank you to everyone who took the time to write to me about Rishi Sunak’s use of private jets and helicopters.
The ministerial code makes clear that ministers – including the Prime Minister – must only use private jets and helicopters when essential, given the high cost to the taxpayer and to the environment. So, in the case of the Prime Minister’s recent trip to Aberdeen, it is unclear why travel by private jet was essential when commercial alternatives appear to have been available, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask Rishi Sunak to explain how this trip was within the rules for taxpayer-funded travel.
But I’m afraid when it comes to Rishi Sunak’s travel arrangements, this trip forms part of a broader pattern, whereby our jet-setting Prime Minister is perfectly content to watch Britain’s public transport network fall apart from 30,000 feet while he criss-crosses the country by private jet and helicopter. Staggeringly, until July 2023 he had never once taken a train for official government business while Prime Minister, and government data shows that he took £500,000 worth of taxpayer-funded private jet trips in just one week in 2022, in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis.
The optics just couldn’t be worse, with the Prime Minister flying in by private jet to announce 100 new oil and gas licenses while the world experienced the hottest July on record and the British public have been suffering rocketing bills caused by a massive fossil fuel price shock.
Please know that until the British public get a chance to have their say at the next general election I will continue to hold the Prime Minister to account on climate change and on the responsible use of public money.