Dominic Raab under fire for spending £1m on private jets in just nine months

Deputy prime minister criticised for taking up to nine officials with him on government trips

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Wednesday 29 June 2022 20:17 BST
Dominic Raab criticises ‘champagne socialist’ Angela Rayner for going to opera

Dominic Raab spent more than £1m on private jets in just nine months as foreign secretary instead of using regular flights, Labour is protesting.

The deputy prime minister is also under fire for taking up to nine officials with him on government trips – wasting money during a cost of living crisis, the party says.

“There are serious questions for the government about how these extortionate costs were run up and what we’re paying for,” Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader said.

“The public will want to know if they’re footing the bill for Tory ministers’ expensive in flight hospitality while working families struggle to put food on their own tables.”

Mr Raab, now the justice secretary, was foreign secretary until September last year, when he was demoted over the chaotic response to the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban.

According to official data examined by Labour, he used chartered flights on travel to:

* South Korea and Vietnam, in October 2020, with eight officials – costing £213,009

* Cyprus, February 2021, six officials – £68,549

* Gibraltar, March 2021, nine officials – £34,369

* Indonesia and Brunei, April 2021, seven officials – £226, 053

* Israel, May 2021, eight officials – £110,786

* Saudi Arabia and Iraq, June 2021, seven officials – £150,349

* Cambodia, June 2021, six officials – £236,487

Ms Rayner added: “While families struggle to make ends meet, ministers continue to waste taxpayers’ money.”

But a government spokesperson insisted: “During the pandemic, commercial flight options were limited. All flights were fully declared and in accordance with the rules.”

The criticism comes after Mr Raab and Ms Rayner clashed in the Commons, when the deputy prime minister criticised his opposite number for attending the Glyndebourne opera festival.

He claimed pictures of her in the Sussex countryside during the rail strikes last week. were proof that “champagne socialism is back in the Labour party” – while winking at her.

“Where was she when the comrades were on the picket line last Thursday?” Mr Raab asked, adding: “She was at the Glyndebourne music festival sipping champagne.”

Ms Rayner hit back, saying Tory ministers spent an evening last week “at the banqueting table getting hundreds of thousands squeezed out of their donors”.

A No 10 spokesman was forced to deny Mr Raab’s criticism was an attack on a working-class woman enjoying champagne and opera.

“The prime minister is clear that everybody should be able to enjoy arts and culture and other such things across the UK,” he said.

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