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‘Show of extravagance’: UK PM Rishi Sunak under fire for taking 30-minute private jet flight

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Britain Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been accused of ‘show of extravagance’ for taking a 30-minute private jet flight to visit a healthcare facility in Leeds.

New Delhi,UPDATED: Jan 12, 2023 10:29 IST

Rishi Sunak walks near the Treasury building in London, Britain, May 3, 2022 (Photo: Reuters/File)

By India Today Web Desk: Britain Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has come under fire after it emerged that he travelled from London to Leeds on a 14-seat RAF jet. The Conservative party leader has been accused of undermining the government’s green credentials and wasting taxpayers’ money by using a private jet to visit a healthcare centre in Leeds, The Mirror reported.

The prime minister was pictured boarding an RAF plane on Monday morning for the visit ahead of his visit to Rutland Healthcare Centre to meet patients and carers as the National Health Service (NHS) is gripped by a winter crisis.

Slamming Rishi Sunak’s move to take a private jet, the Labour party accused the prime minister of a ‘show of extravagance’.

“Patients and staff are crying out for action from this government in the midst of a crisis in our NHS while the prime minister jets from London to Leeds for a photo op,” Angela Rayner, the party’s deputy leader, was quoted by The Guardian as saying.

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“The prime minister must come clean about how much taxpayers’ money was wasted on this 36-minute plane journey for a three-hour visit at the height of a cost of living crisis,” the leader further said.

Rishi Sunak has been accused of not only wasting taxpayers’ money but also making a mockery of his climate pledges.

“It is utterly indefensible for Tory ministers to make such short journeys by jet when far cheaper and much less damaging options are readily available,” Green MP Caroline Lucas was quoted by The Guardian as saying.

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard tweeted that Sunak’s use of a jet made “a mockery of his climate pledges”.

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DOWNING STREET DEFENDS MOVE

Downing Street has defended Rishi Sunak’s use of a jet to visit a hospital as ‘appropriate’ given his busy schedule. Defending the move, No 10 said that it was the ‘most effective use of his time’.

Downing Street said there was a ‘great deal of pressure’ on his schedule when asked why Sunak decided to fly rather than take a train.

The PM’s official spokesman said transport decisions “will always be made in the interest of what is the most effective use of his time, enabling him to get around the entirety of the UK when there is a great deal of pressure on his time”.

The No 10 official added: “It will vary (depending) on what is the most appropriate use.”

He has been criticised before for flying short distances around the UK. Earlier this year, he personally paid more than £10,000 to fly by private helicopter from Battersea in London to a Tory dinner in Wales.

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