Mr. Sunak has accepted more than £70,000 in private aircraft and helicopter travel to Conservative Party events this year from political donors.
Mr. Sunak’s use of flights for engagements in the United Kingdom has come under intense scrutiny, with critics wondering why he did not take the train instead of RAF aircraft for relatively short journeys to Newquay, Dover, and Leeds this year.
Mr. Sunak stated last month that those who advocate “no one should fly” as a response to climate change are “completely and utterly wrong.”
Labour stated that the Prime Minister was “developing an expensive habit of swanning around on taxpayer-funded private jets.”
Angela Rayner, the party’s deputy leader, suggested that Mr. Sunak had violated the ministerial code, which stipulates that he must use scheduled flights unless “it is essential to travel by air.”
After committing to reduce carbon emissions, the SNP stated that Mr. Sunak was “completely out of touch” and “grossly hypocritical” based on the flight data.
International and domestic UK aviation accounted for 8% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, before the pandemic.
The prime minister’s priorities
Anna Hughes, whose Flight Free UK campaign urges individuals to fly less for the sake of the environment, described Mr Sunak’s transport options as “frustrating.”
She stated that if leaders exhibited “the kind of behavior that we all need to adopt to avert the climate crisis”, it would convey that the issue is serious and imminent.
“You can’t just say I’m the prime minister, I’m too busy and important,” she added.
One former official with knowledge of ministerial travel before Mr. Sunak’s premiership stated that transportation decisions “were based on the time” and that the train was utilized “nine times out of ten.”
The former official, who wished to remain anonymous, stated, “We had access to the Prime Minister’s schedule, and every single minute of every single day is accounted for.”
“The only way to accomplish a lengthy visit was by airplane,” they said.
A spokesperson for Downing Street stated that ministers “occasionally require the use of non-commercial air travel.”
“This is a standard practice for governments around the world, and this has been the case under successive administrations of all political stripes in the United Kingdom,” the spokesperson explained.