Private jet for David Miliband defended
The Foreign Office today defended seeking to hire a private jet for the use of Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
A contract for the hire of a charter aircraft went out in February and will last for two years, it is understood.
A department spokesman said recent changes in ministerial flight availability meant officials sometimes needed to charter aircraft at short notice, adding: "Value for money is a top priority."
He said: "Unlike a lot of other countries we don't have a Foreign Office plane.
"We always try to use commercial airlines but sometimes that is not practical. Until now we have been able to use the RAF in those circumstances.
"Changes in the RAF mean we need the ability to charter aircraft sometimes at short notice - value for money is a top priority."
The contract for the aircraft hire has not yet been issued.
According to the News of the World, the tender document says officials are looking for "a good quality aircraft for overseas visits by the Foreign Secretary".
The company must "provide a first class service" and be able to "provide an aircraft sometimes within a few hours' notice", it added.
Mr Miliband, who last week flew to Sri Lanka for an official visit, made more than 20 state trips last year to countries including Turkey, Syria and the United States.
Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the Taxpayers' Alliance, told the News of the World: "David Miliband would do a better job if he remembered he is there to serve the people, not live a life of luxury at our expense."
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
British are sexually uptight, dirty and drink too much – according to Spanish book
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...
£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...
£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...