It’s not long in UK politics before another scandalous headline about a Tory minister using a jet sparks outrage online.
Back under the turbulent premiership of Boris Johnson, the ex-prime minister used one to fly home from a family holiday, bought a “Brexit jet” with taxpayers’ money, left the Cop26 climate summit on a private jet, and got RAF aircraft to fly 330 miles just for a photoshoot.
His successor, Liz Truss, also came under fire when she was foreign secretary, after reports surfaced of her flying over to Australia on a private jet at a cost of £500,000 to the British taxpayer.
Now, the current foreign secretary James Cleverly has faced similar criticism, as The Guardian reported on Monday that the Braintree MP has used a £10,000-an-hour private jet for his tour of the Caribbean and Latin America.
To translate that into a bigger sum for Mr Cleverly’s 10-day trip, Air Hamburg said hiring out the Embraer Lineage 1000E – which comes with countless seats, a queen-size bed, private shower and bedroom, and widescreen TVs – for that length of time would generate a bill of around €400,000 (or £348,000).
Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary and Mr Cleverly’s Labour counterpart, tweeted out a ink to a virtual tour on Air Hamburg’s website and added: “It’s an essential part of the foreign secretary’s job to fly overseas for diplomatic engagement but I defy anyone to take this 360 tour of the jet James Cleverly is using for his current trip abroad and tell me this level of extravagance is ‘essential’.”
Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter
Naturally, such an eye-watering price for the taxpayer has left other Twitter users incredulous too – especially considering it’s a jet popularised by the characters of the hit HBO series Succession:
\u201cWhile some nurses have to access food banks, Tory Foreign Sec James Cleverly, who defended Zahawi saying MP's tax should be private \ud83e\udd14, has been using a jet identical to that in TV series Succession at \u00a310,000 an hour..\n\n"Let them eat cake" anyone? \n\n https://t.co/ACqMG0xC6y\u201d— Carol Vorderman (@Carol Vorderman) 1684783469
\u201c37% of all families with three or more kids went hungry last month. And @JamesCleverly is travelling on a \u00a310,000 an hour jet. \n\nWhat contempt he shows for everyday people. https://t.co/KxPBRs6YFI\u201d— Jo Maugham (@Jo Maugham) 1684782680
\u201cYou have to admit that a man called Cleverly who is MP for Braintree is seriously dim, deluded and despicable! https://t.co/CbvraYT2bR\u201d— Steve Bray on Mastodon @SNB19692@Mastodon.Social (@Steve Bray on Mastodon @SNB19692@Mastodon.Social) 1684796742
\u201cAusterity? What austerity?\n\nNothing's too good for this worker when taxpayers will cover the bill https://t.co/2fRMBfrf2E\u201d— Kevin Maguire (@Kevin Maguire) 1684771628
\u201cThey are now taking the absolute fecking p*ss:\n\nTory James Cleverly hires \u00a340m private jet to globetrot around for his diplomatic duties costing taxpayers \u00a312,000 per hour while people have to go to foodbanks for their next meal.\nhttps://t.co/Re6sdcESIr\u201d— JmRoyle #YNWA #BLM #GTTO #LFC (@JmRoyle #YNWA #BLM #GTTO #LFC) 1684779988
When approached for comment, a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson told The Guardian: “The foreign secretary’s job requires him to travel abroad to pursue UK interests. This was the most time-effective way to do this in this instance.
“Value for money is taken into account in all travel decisions and costs are regularly published for transparency.”
Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.
The Conversation (0)