A makeover for a plane that Boris Johnson once dubbed his ‘Brexit plane’ is set to cost almost £1 million.
The grey RAF Voyager jet is currently receiving a pre-planned makeover at an airport in Cambridge, with Downing Street confirming it will be painted red, white and blue.
A spokesperson for Boris Johnson said the work would cost ‘around £900,000’ and would mean that the plane can better represent the UK around the world with ‘national branding’.
Acting Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey compared it with the cost of drugs used to treat Covid-19 patients.
Sir Ed tweeted: ‘The drug dexamethasone, that can potentially save the lives of people with coronavirus, costs £5 per patient.
Have your say
Send your letters for publication to The New European by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and pick up an edition each Thursday for more comment and analysis. Find your nearest stockist here or subscribe to a print or digital edition for just £13. You can also join our readers' Facebook group to keep the discussion and debate going with thousands of fellow pro-Europeans.
‘Boris Johnson could have bought 180,000 doses of that, but instead he’s painting a flag on a plane.’
Labour shadow minister Emma Hardy said: ‘For goodness sake. Please can we have a grown up as a prime minister instead of a child.’
And her fellow opposition front bench colleague Justin Madders tweeted: ‘What’s he painting it with, gold leaf?’
The SNP lambasted it as an ‘utterly unacceptable use of public funds’.
Stewart McDonald MP, the party’s defence spokesman, said: ‘Boris Johnson is taking yet another page out of the Trumpian playbook with this cynical move – distracting from the reality of his Government and chief adviser’s conduct over the past few months.’
There was even a call from the government benches for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to be spared being lumbered with footing the bill.
Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons defence committee, tweeted: ‘Yes to patriotism!
‘But at the tune of £900,000 – Cabinet not MoD should pay.’
But the prime minister’s official spokesman defended the move, saying Johnson was not the only person who uses the jet.
He said: ‘The RAF Voyager used by the royal family and the prime minister is currently in Cambridgeshire for pre-planned repainting.
‘This will mean that the plane can better represent the UK around the world with national branding, similar to many other leaders’ planes, while also retaining its military air-to-air refuelling capability.’
The spokesman defended the £900,000 cost, telling reporters: ‘That incorporates the cost of creating a design that will promote the UK around the world without compromising the plane’s vital military role.
‘At every stage we have worked to ensure value for money for the UK taxpayer and all of the work has been undertaken in the UK, directly benefiting British suppliers.’