Boris Johnson gets critics fired up with call for his own private jet
Because Theresa May’s RAF Voyager is 'very difficult to get hold of'. And the wrong colour.
Boris Johnson has already signalled that he’d like to see a new royal yacht to boost Britain’s international influence after Brexit.
Now the foreign secretary has told journalists he wouldn’t mind his own private Brexit jet too.
Speaking on his tour of South America, Johnson made it clear he wasn’t happy about being shunted onto commercial flights when he couldn’t get access to Theresa May’s RAF Voyager. It comes after had to stop off in Madrid to change planes on his Air Europa service from London to Lima, adding five hours to the journey time.
“We are hard as nails, we Foreign Office types. We don’t care about changing planes, we pernoctate on planes," said Johnson, employing a typically arcane term to insist he didn't mind where he slept.
“What I will say about the Voyager, I think it’s great, but it seems to be very difficult to get hold of. It never seems to be available … Also, why does it have to be grey?”
Asked by one cunning hack if he would like to have his own “Brexit plane”, Johnson then fell into the trap of making news by saying yes.
“If there’s a way of doing it that is not exorbitantly expensive, then yes, I think we probably do need something. The taxpayers won’t want us to have some luxurious new plane, but I certainly think it’s striking that we don’t seem to have access to such a thing at the moment.”
David Cameron’s government fitted out an RAF Voyager A330, at a cost of £10m, for use by senior ministers and the royal family. However Cameron used it only once before resigning the day after the 2016 referendum. It has since been dubbed ‘Theresa-jet’ by headline writers.
Responding to Johnson’s call for a jet, Labour MP Wes Streeting said: “This is an idea that needs to be grounded before take off. A terrible waste of money when school and police budgets are being cut. As ever, Boris Johnson is only ever thinking about Boris Johnson.”
The Mirror was yet more scathing, with a leader column asking: "Does Boris Johnson really think hard-up workers will stand for their taxes being spent on a plane for him to fly the flag for Brexit?"
It added: "If nothing else, this ludicrous request demonstrates the gargantuan conceit of the Tory Brexiteer who lied his way through the referendum two years ago."
Picture credit: PA