Azara Blog: Labour ministers like to fly courtesy of the RAF

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Date published: 2006/04/12

The BBC says:

Ministers have been urged to explain why they took hundreds of journeys on the Queen's Flight.

Tony Blair has flown in RAF jets 670 times, at a cost of £1.2m, since becoming prime minister in 1997.

Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett took 106 RAF flights between 2002 and December 2004 - many to East Midlands airport, near her home in Derbyshire.

Conservative transport spokesman Chris Grayling accused ministers of using the planes as a "private taxi service".

Government officials said it was cheaper than commercial airlines and stressed the flights were within the ministerial rules.
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said many of Mrs Beckett's meetings in Brussels "often end at unpredictable hours in the middle of the night when there is no alternative transport available".

The spokesman added: "Returning to the UK immediately allows attendance at high level meetings early the next morning and represents savings on hotel accommodation."

The environment department spokesman added: "Conscious of the environmental impact of aviation, all ministerial flights during the EU presidency last year were carbon offset as were emissions from all other sources."

What a surprise. The ruling elite have spent the last few years complaining about global warming but of course they are far and away the worst offenders. And the Tories are totally hypocritical, since they would do the same as Labour should they happen to win the next election. And the environment department spokesman is just taking the piss. Having the taxpayer pay twice, once for the flight and a second time to allegedly cover the damage to the environment, is just adding insult to injury. Unless ministers personally pay for the environmental damage, it counts for nothing. They have no incentive to travel by any other method.

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