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27th Jan 2022

Liz Truss spent £500,000 of taxpayers’ money on a private flight to Australia

Ava Evans

Business class wasn’t good enough for the foreign secretary

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss charged an astonishing half-a-million pounds to the taxpayer, flying by private jet to Australia, according to reports.

Rather than travel on one of the scheduled flights available on the same itinerary, Truss insisted on flying on the private government Airbus A321 at an eye-watering price of £500,000.

According to The Independent, the most expensive business-class ticket for the foreign secretary’s entire itinerary on Qantas would have been £7,712.

The ministerial code makes clear the jet must only be used where scheduled flights are not available. It also states that only the foreign secretary can authorise use of the jet.

While Boris Johnson has pledged to bring the UK to net-zero by 2030, it’s thought the flight to Australia and back this week burnt an estimated 150 tonnes of fuel and generated nearly 500 tonnes of CO2.

A foreign office spokesperson said the private flight was “necessary” and “fully within rules set out in the Ministerial Code.”

Earlier this month it was revealed that Truss “insisted” on a £1,400 taxpayer-funded lunch at a private club owned by a Tory donor.

Leaked emails revealed the foreign secretary “refused to consider anywhere else” and charged the “incredibly expensive” meal to the taxpayer, where she dined with US President Joe Biden’s trade representative.

In Australia, Truss has encountered some unfavourable press.

Writing in an op-ed, the former Australian prime minister Paul Keating accused Truss of making “demented” comments about Chinese military aggression and encouraged her to hurry “back to her collapsing, disreputable government.”

The foreign secretary had suggested China could use the potential Russian invasion of Ukraine as an opportunity to launch aggression of its own in the Indo-Pacific, a comment the former Australian PM described as “demented.”

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