Liz Truss told £500,000 flight was 'grotesque misuse of taxpayers' money'

Foreign Secretary and South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss. - Credit: Chris Bishop

South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss has been accused of a "grotesque misuse of taxpayers' money" after she was flown, by private jet to Australia costing taxpayers £500,000 instead of taking a scheduled business class flight.

Truss insisted on flying the 22,000 miles to, from and within Australia on the private government Airbus A321, instead of taking a planned Qantas flight from London to Sydney which would have cost up to £7,712.

The flight to Australia and back this week is said to have an burned an estimated 150 tonnes of fuel and generated nearly 500 tonnes of CO2.

According to the ministerial code, only the foreign secretary could have authorised the flight.

It is understood Truss opted for the private flight over 'security considerations’ amid fears that conversations could be overheard by other passengers.

But Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said the use of the private jet showed “the public exactly quite how little respect this Conservative government has for taxpayers’ money”.

She said: “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.

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“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.”

SNP environment spokesperson Deidre Brock added that it was a “grotesque misuse of taxpayers’ money to fund her jet-set lifestyle”.

She said: “With a record like this, lavish Liz will make a fitting successor to Boris Johnson.”

The Foreign Office has not disclosed how many people were on board, but the ministerial code says delegations should be “as small as reasonably possible”. 

Two sets of flight crew were required for the trip, which began on January 18 with a flight from Stansted to Dubai, which then went nonstop to Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory and continued to Sydney.

The Airbus then left Adelaide at 10.50pm on January 23, refuelling at both Kuala Lumpur and Dubai before arriving back at Stansted airport at 1.20pm.

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.”