Rishi Sunak ‘spends thousands’ on private helicopter trips to his constituency since becoming Prime Minister

Rishi Sunak is understood to have used privately funded helicopters from London to Richmond costing about £16,000 in November and December

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Rishi Sunak has spent thousands of pounds on private helicopter trips to his constituency in North Yorkshire since he became Prime Minister, reports suggest.

Sunak is understood to have spent £16,000 on private helicopters from London to Richmond on dates in November and December, according to a report by the Guardian.

Northallerton, a town near to Sunak’s constituency home, is on the mainline from London Kings Cross and there are usually more than 30 trains running here each day.

The 200-mile journey takes about two hours and 15 minutes, and a single train ticket booked a day in advance would cost about £87,The Guardian reports.

It comes after the Prime Minister has already been criticised for his use of private jets as a way to travel to different parts of the country, raising questions about his climate crisis commitment.

In January he flew on a 14-seat aircraft to Scotland, then to an event in Leeds and days later took the same jet to an event in Lancashire.

Hiring the jet would cost more than £2,500 an hour on the commercial market, according to the aircraft purchasing advisers Conklin and de Decker.

No 10 did not dispute the use of helicopters and said the Prime Minister paid for all his own travel that did not pertain to government business.

Downing Street has previously defended Sunak’s travel arrangements as making the best use of his time, and denied rail reliability was a factor in his decisions.

A spokesperson said: “We don’t comment on the Prime Minister’s travel.”

The government has pledged to cut carbon emissions in its drive to reach net zero by 2050. Part of the plans include reducing emissions from the domestic aviation market as part of a programme called “jet zero”.

The aim of the programme is to reduce the 7% of emissions that come from the aviation sector.

Reports that Sunak has taken private helicopters home to his constituency runs completely against the government’s commitment to cut emissions from the domestic aviation market. It is also likely to add to the public perception that the Prime Minister’s net worth of £730m means he is out of touch with everyday concerns.

In focus groups run by Labour over the last fortnight this has emerged as a key criticism of the PM.

It comes after Sunak has previously admitted to using private healthcare, although he said he is registered with an NHS GP. The Guardian revealed in November that he was registered with a private clinic in west London that charges £250 for a consultation.