Liz Truss defends using private government plane for Australia trip

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Ms Truss insisted the point of the plane was to allow ministers to work overseas. But Labour said using the aircraft had wasted “disgusting” amounts of public money after the cost of the trip was estimated to be around £500,000.

Ms Truss said: “I used the government plane. That is why we have a government plane ‑ to enable government ministers to conduct government business. That’s what I flew to Australia in.”

Ms Truss added every government decision is “based on value for money”.

She added: “We have a Government plane specifically so minsters, like me in my role as Foreign Secretary, can go and do work overseas, which is ultimately delivering for the British people.”

Flying in government planes is standard practice in major economies. But Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said using the Airbus A321 showed “how little respect” the Government has for taxpayers’ money.

She added: “It is obscene that government ministers are jet-setting, yet hiking taxes and refusing to do anything to help working families.”

Ms Truss visited Australia last week to deepen ties that support jobs and security in Britain.

The Foreign Office said no scheduled flight option was available.

A spokesman said: “It’s necessary for the Foreign Secretary to travel abroad to pursue UK interests around security, trade and technology, as she did on this visit to Australia.

“Travelling this way allows ministers to have private discussions on sensitive security matters and flexibility to respond to rapidly changing global events.

“This trip used government transport and was fully within rules.”

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