The new and improved look will mean the aircraft can “better represent the UK around the world with national branding,” the Prime Minister’s spokesman said. The plane, which is used by the Royal Family, is in Cambridgeshire for the paint job. Mr Johnson’s decision to give the RAF Voyager a lick of paint has been met with fierce opposition from MPs and members of the public.
Lib Dem MP Jamie Stone branded it an “absurd waste” of cash.
He said the money could have been channelled towards the Britons who have run into financial difficulty during the pandemic.
Mr Stone said: “This absurd waste of nearly £1 million at a time when so many are struggling to put food on the table is insulting.
“We are facing the biggest crisis in generations but Boris is concerned with the colours of his plane.
“Can he pay for this, rather than bill the taxpayer?”
Deputy leader of Welsh Labour Carolyn Harris said: “£900,000 to put a flag on the Prime Minister’s plane.
“That could pay for 60,000 free school meal vouchers.”
And Sir Ed Davey, acting leader of the Liberal Democrats said: “The drug dexamethasone, that can potentially save the lives of people with coronavirus, costs £5 per patient.
They tweeted: “Absolutely… it’s marketing.
“Every business has a budget for that and we are now open to the world for business.”
They said £900,000 is “a lot less” than the huge sums the EU spends transport for MEPs.
Speaking to Sky News’ Kay Burley about the project on Wednesday morning, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab defended his boss’ decision.
Mr Raab said: “We do make sure we maintain and upgrade the things like the aircraft and other things that help us project our influence abroad in a normal way.
“Obviously, we want to make sure we get good value for money with all those projects but it is really important that we’re out there in the world projecting global influence particularly at a time with coronavirus when our international cooperation is more important than ever.”
When it was put to him that the money could be “better spent elsewhere” he refuted the claim.
Mr Raab said: “Look, we are very careful with these decisions, they are properly scrutinised.
“But as I said, do not underestimate the role of the UK in the world for delivering value for money for taxpayers at home and yes having aircraft that can make sure the Prime Minister can get from place to place as swiftly as possible is part of that. “
Published at Thu, 18 Jun 2020 08:49:00 +0000