Bliar uses the "Royal Flight" for holiday freebie

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Capt Cheeky, Jan 9, 2005.

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  1. Tony Blair is facing fresh criticism over his holiday arrangements after the disclosure that he cost taxpayers up to £100,000 by using the Queen's Flight to travel with his family for a Christmas break in Egypt, during the height of the tsunami crisis.

    They used an RAF 32 Squadron BAe 146, which is also used by the Queen and the Royal Family, to fly to Sharm el Sheikh. Under Commons rules, the Prime Minister is entitled to use the flights, which cost more than £8,000 an hour, but must repay an unspecified proportion of the costs unless he travels wholly on official business.

    Downing Street said that Mr Blair had paid the equivalent of a commercial flight - substantially less than the Queen's Flight cost - because he conducted some official business.

    The Conservatives, however, questioned why he repeatedly appeared to add an element of business to holiday trips. Chris Grayling, the MP for Epsom and Ewell, is demanding full details under the Freedom of Information Act of the extent of Mr Blair's use of the Queen's Flight, and how much he has paid since 1997.

    Last month, Mr Grayling sparked an official investigation by the parliamentary commissioner for standards after complaining that the Prime Minister had not declared a 2002 holiday at the French home of Alain Dominique Perrin, a leading figure in the tobacco industry. Mr Blair could be forced to apologise to the Commons.

    Mr Grayling said: "The Prime Minister appears to have used the Queen's Flight for the majority of his holidays over the years. I want to know how much he has been invoiced for and whether he has always paid the proper amount back to the taxpayer or whether this is a way of getting freebies."

    Downing Street said that Mr Blair had met President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, the King of Jordan, the King of Bahrain and made a "significant number of phone calls to other world leaders" during his stay. A spokesman said that the RAF plane was used because of security advice. The Queen's Flight is equipped with defensive missiles and armour plating to protect against small arms fire.

    A return flight from Heathrow to Sharm el Sheikh, via Cairo, is £434 per person on Egypt Air. A private charter would be nearer £80,000. There are no direct commercial flights.

    Once in Egypt, Mr Blair used the plane for a return trip to Jordan to see the King. The plane stayed in the region and flew the family home.

    From the Telegraph
     
  2. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    That the Emperor would screw the taxpayer for what is esentially a private jet for his holiday comes as no surprise. That the a/c was sitting there at his beck and call makes his failure to return in light of the tsunami even more appalling than I originally thought.

    Just how the fcuk can "significant number of phone calls to other world leaders" justify his use of military assets for his private use - I assume the telephones in Downing Street are serviceable.

    P1ss boiling +++ :evil: :evil: :evil:
     
  3. Capt Cheeky quoted press report
    However, we read later that the plane was at his beck and call all the while he was on holiday. Is the £8K per hour. What was the cost of having plane dedicated? Was anpther plane tasked in UK to make up for the one he had?
     
  4. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    £8k per hour sounds about right for a BAe146 exec charter. The cost of the crew's salaries, food and accom and LOA won't be included, so in fact the actual cost will have been substantially higher.
     
  5. Were the crew staying in the same resort? 8O
     
  6. He's been doing this since he became PM and they have just twigged now.

    Always manages a duty call on some nob near were he is staying on his freebies :twisted: :evil: