“Such unnecessary flying makes their promises of net zero completely ridiculous,” say the Liberal Democrats
The Foreign Secretary has made at least two helicopter flights in the two weeks since the race for leadership was reduced to a head-to-head vote by Tory members between herself and Rishi Sunak.
Liz Truss has chartered a “luxurious” private helicopter to take her to events in the UK as part of her campaign to become the next Prime Minister. I has learned.
A spokesman for Ms Truss said it was “inevitable” that she would fly in a private helicopter as she tried to meet as many members as possible.
But she has been criticized for flying rather than using greener options like trains or cars, and the Liberal Democrats say this “completely makes a mockery” of her support for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
It’s not the first time Ms Truss has been embroiled in controversy over a private flight.
In January, she was forced to defend the £500,000 government private jet flight to Australia instead of using scheduled commercial flights, which would have been quicker and far cheaper.
The journey to and from Australia, some 22,000 miles, burned an estimated 150 tons of fuel and generated nearly 500 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
The luxury helicopter hire also comes after Ms Truss’ supporter, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, sparked controversy by matching the “candidate’s earrings, which cost around £4.50 from Claire Accessories” with Mr Sunak’s “Prada shoes in the value of £450′ and the ‘made to measure suit of £3,500’.
Commenting on Ms Truss’ helicopter campaign, Wera Hobhouse MP, spokeswoman for climate change, said: “Unfortunately, that is what we expect from the Conservative Party of Liz Truss.
“Flying around like that unnecessarily makes a mockery of their promises of net zero.
“It is clear that she is not serious about climate change.
“The heatwaves were a stark reminder that climate change is happening, but Liz Truss has clearly forgotten that.
“Flying blind, she failed to address the climate crisis throughout the leadership contest.”
I understands Ms Truss hired a helicopter from Castle Air, which has bases in London, Cornwall and Gloucestershire Airport. The company’s website says it offers “private luxury helicopter hire” in the UK.
Sources claimed she flew some 200 miles from Leeds to London after the Tory leadership’s first hustings last week, and a similar distance to and from Exeter, where the second such event took place on Monday, but her campaign team refused to to comment on the details.
A spokesperson for Ms Truss’s campaign said: “Liz is trying to meet as many members as possible over the course of this campaign as she fights for every vote.
“She will inevitably use a lot of transportation as she traverses the country.”
The private hire flights were likely paid for with campaign donations and must be offset against Ms Truss’ expenses, which are capped at £300,000.
This story has been updated.