Downing Street defended the Prime Minister for using a military Envoy passenger plane for the 36-minute journey from from London to West Yorkshire on Monday, saying there was ‘a great deal of pressure on his time’.
Number 10 posted pictures online showing him boarding the French-made executive jet, which can carry 14 people, late last night, in front of a saluting serviceman.
A train from Kings Cross to Leeds takes little over two hours. But rail services across the north of England have been dogged by problems in recent months. There have also been extensive strikes affecting services across the country.
The PM’s official spokesman told reporters today: ‘The transport the prime minister takes will vary and always be done in the interest of what’s most effective.’
But Labour mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin said: ‘It’s a damning verdict on our public transport network when the PM doesn’t want to use it to visit Leeds.
‘I wish we could all take a taxpayer-funded jet to avoid the appalling rail services in the North. But sadly that is for a very privileged few.’
The Prime Minister chatted with 75-year-old Pauline Burke and her carers – husband Patrick and daughter Emma – when he visited Rutland Lodge Medical Practice in Leeds.
He was accompanied by social care minister Helen Whately.
Leeds North East MP Fabian Hamilton said it was ‘a disgraceful waste of money showing that Rishi Sunak is out of touch and does not take the climate emergency seriously’.
‘If only the Conservatives could get the trains to run on time,’ he added