Liz Truss Accused Of 'Obscene' Waste Of Money Over £500,000 Flight To Australia

·2-min read
(Photo: Rob Pinney via Getty Images)
(Photo: Rob Pinney via Getty Images)

Liz Truss has been accused of an “obscene” decision to spent £500,000 of taxpayers money on a flight to Australia.

According to The Independent, the foreign secretary chose to use a private government jet rather than a regular scheduled passenger flight from London.

Truss made the trip to Australia on a defence and trade mission earlier this month.

The cabinet minister later defended chartering the private jet, saying: “I used the government plane. That is why we have a government plane.”

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, slammed Truss for the “ridiculous waste” of money.

“Liz Truss shows the public exactly quite how little respect this Conservative government has for taxpayers,” she said.

“This government is brazen in its disregard for upholding decency.

“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.”

Truss, asked about the reports, told broadcasters during a trip to Northern Ireland: “I used the government plane. That is why we have a government plane: to enable government ministers to conduct government business, and that’s what I flew to Australia in.”

Pressed on whether it would have been better to have used commercial flights instead, the cabinet minister said: “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 the work overseas, which is ultimately delivering for the British people.”

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “It’s necessary 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 fully within rules set out in the Ministerial Code.”

Truss made the trip as pressure mounted on Boris Johnson over revelations that staff parties were held in No.10 and Whitehall during lockdown.

The foreign secretary, who is seen as a likely successor as prime minister should Johnson be ousted, has said she backed him “100%”.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.