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Liz Truss spent £500,000 of taxpayers' money to fly her Down-Under



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South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss has found herself at the centre of a storm after it emerged that she chartered a private jet to fly her to Australia on Government business at an estimated cost to the taxpayer of £500,000.

The equivalent cost of a first class ticket Down-Under would have been about £7,000.

Critics said the move by the Foreign Secretary was a “grotesque misuse” of public money, but Ms Truss said the Government plane was available “precisely so that government ministers can travel”.

Liz Truss MP has agreed in principle the free trade deal with Japan (54541844)
Liz Truss MP has agreed in principle the free trade deal with Japan (54541844)

Asked if it would not have been better to fly on a commercial airline, she insisted all Government decisions are based on “value for money".

Speaking while on a visit to Northern Ireland, she said: “Well, every Government decision is based on value for money, we have a government plane specifically so ministers like me in my role as foreign secretary can go and do work overseas, which is ultimately delivering for the British people.”.

The Independent reported the foreign secretary had opted for the private flight for her trip last week due to security concerns, although commercial flights were available.

It said she had travelled on the private Government Airbus A321.

The Foreign Office said the trip was within the rules set by the ministerial code.

They also said using the jet would allow private discussions on sensitive security matters, and give her the option of returning to the UK early.

But Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said the use of the private jet showed “the public exactly quite how little respect this Conservative government has for taxpayers’ money.”

She said: “It is obscene that Government ministers are jet setting yet are hiking taxes and refusing to do anything to help working families when they are feeling the pinch of the cost of living crisis.

“Tories waste disgusting amounts of public money on their own vanity and comfort, Labour wants to see families see a cut to energy bills, that is the difference.”

SNP environment spokesperson Deidre Brock added that it was a “grotesque misuse of taxpayers’ money to fund her jet-set lifestyle”.

The row comes just a few weeks after Ms Truss was attacked for insisting that US diplomats were wined and dined at a Mayfair restaurant owned by a Tory donor at a cost of £3,000.

Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry accused Ms Truss of having a penchant for getting the taxpayer to "foot the bill for herexpensive taste".



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