Why has a Rishi Sunak helicopter ride sparked controversy?

Why has a Rishi Sunak helicopter ride sparked controversy?
Rishi Sunak 'disappointed' as Tories lose control of seven councils in the …

Rishi Sunak has sparked controversy because of the way he travelled to the seaside.

Sounds odd? Read on...

The prime minister is in trouble because he took a helicopter to Southampton yesterday, where he was promoting new government healthcare plans and talking about his party's awful local election results, despite it only being 1hr 15 mins away from London's Waterloo Station by train.

According to the Mirror, flight records show Sunak's helicopter left from RAF Northolt at around 8:53am yesterday morning, before landing at Wellington Barracks in Westminster where he was picked up and pootled to the coastal city. The rub? The flight was paid for by the taxpayer. That's you and I. The Guardian reckon it would have cost about £6000 whereas the train would have cost around £53.

And taking a jet instead of a train isn't exactly great for the environment...

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A Labour source reportedly told the Mirror: "While Keir Starmer was working with 20 new Labour councils to bring in new cost of living action plans, Rishi Sunak was gallivanting around in a helicopter for a journey which would have taken an hour on the train.

Last week, the British public told the prime minister to get his head out of the clouds - it seems he just isn't listening."

Liberal Democrat climate change and transport spokeswoman Wera Hobhouse said: “Being the prime minister is not an excuse to use a private helicopter whenever you want.

“No politician should be above using public transport to get around the country – especially for a journey that would take little more than an hour.

“Rishi Sunak has seemingly abandoned the government’s environmental responsibilities while throwing taxpayer money away so he can travel in luxury. This is just another example of him being wildly out of touch with the British people.”

Other social media users similarly shared their annoyance at the PM.

But the Prime Minister's spokesman defended the helicopter trip, saying: "His transport will vary depending on his time and where he's going to make the best use of both his time and in the interest of the taxpayer.

"Obviously there's a lot of pressure on his time and he wants to make the most effective use of that time. Sometimes being able to get to and from places quickly is useful."

Meanwhile, it is not the first time Sunak has flown short distances. His environmental credentials were questioned when he took flights from London to Blackpool and onwards to Darlington in January.

The controversy didn't stop there. Elsewhere on his trip yesterday, Sunak was criticised for not taking questions from journalists there to quiz him:

All in all, it sounds like Sunak may have had a better day if he had just stayed put in London.

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