Rishi Sunak defends flying by private jet to Scotland
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been slammed for using private jets and helicopters, with Express.co.uk readers calling for him to use more sustainable modes of transport in a new poll.
Mr Sunak said that flying is the “most efficient use” of his time in defence for using his RAF Dassault Falcon jet to travel to Aberdeen on Monday rather than a commercial flight.
He told BBC Radio Scotland: “Every prime minister before me has also used planes to travel around the United Kingdom because it is an efficient use of time for the person running the country, so I can keep focusing on delivering for people.”
A Number 10 source said that “bespoke” air travel arrangements were the only time-efficient way Mr Sunak could travel between London and Aberdeen.
Mr Sunak came has previously been under fire for using a helicopter to travel to Southampton rather than the train.
READ MORE: Rishi Sunak hits out at BBC interviewer after snarky attacks over private jet
In response, Express.co.uk ran a poll from 11.30am on Wednesday, August 2, to 3.15pm on Thursday, August 3, asking readers: “Should Rishi Sunak stop taking so many short-leg flights?”
Overall, 1,572 responses were received with the majority of readers, 56 percent (885 people) answering “yes” he should. While 43 percent (674 people) said “no” and a further one percent (13 people) said they did not know.
Dozens of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers debated Mr Sunak’s travel arrangements.
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The predominant argument was in favour of the Prime Minister taking fewer private flights, with username Dav3th3Rav3 writing: “All the politicians should be using electric cars or public transport. Great Leaders lead by example.”
Similarly, username SaraMay said: “He should be setting a good example, by taking the train, causes the least damage.”
And username Safetyman pointed out: “London to Aberdeen, use a commercial flight, London to Portsmouth use the train. Whichever is reasonable. Using the train will bring him nearer the electorate.”
Labour’s Attorney General Emily Thornberry claims that Mr Sunak’s travel arrangements breach the ministerial code as private jets should only be used when there is no alternative. She said: “We could all hear from the Prime Minister’s tetchy and disdainful response to the BBC that he is tired of being questioned about his addiction to helicopters and private jets. But he cannot simply wave away the rules in his own ministerial code.
“Like every other member of the Cabinet, when it is essential to travel by air he is supposed to use scheduled flights where possible because that is cheaper for the taxpayer and better for the environment. If those are still the rules, then he needs to explain why he has not followed them.”
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However, other readers thought that Mr Sunak should continue to use the most efficient modes of transport, with username pauldenton writing: “He’s the Prime Minister and therefore has an obligation to use his time effectively.”
Another, username deccaa, agreed adding: “He is the Prime Minister…The fastest and best modes of transport should be made available for him to effectively run the country.”
Username Babyboomer pointed out: “He can take as many [flights] as he likes, just as people should fly to holiday destinations when they like.”
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