PM wastes thousands of pounds to meet factory workers

PM wastes thousands of pounds to meet factory workers

RAF helicopter
PM wastes thousands of pounds to meet factory workers

David Cameron spent thousands of pounds of public money on a 140-mile helicopter flight to Lincoln instead of taking a car or train.

The Prime Minister snubbed public transport and travelled by military aircraft to attend a question-and-answer session with factory workers.Last night green campaigners said there was ‘no justification’ for using a helicopter for such a short journey.It is believed that the flight by RAF helicopter was only a little more than an hour faster than taking a train.On Tuesday, Mr Cameron was driven to RAF Northolt, near Uxbridge, West London, in his ministerial car, a journey of around 35 minutes.

He was then flown by military helicopter to RAF Waddington, near Lincoln – a flight of less than an hour – where he was met by another car to take the 13-minute journey to a Siemens factory.A similar train journey from London to Lincoln, changing at Newark North Gate, takes around two hours and costs £67, or around £120 for a first-class ticket.It is not known how much using the RAF helicopter would have cost, but it is likely to have been several thousand pounds.Following the question-and-answer session, Mr Cameron was asked how he travelled to Lincoln, where travellers have long complained of poor rail links.

He said: ‘Today, I’ve been flying around, but I use trains, cars, boats, planes, helicopters – all manner of means. But I know here in Lincoln you want to see more direct services. There’s the one but we need more.’Natalie Bennett, the leader of the Green Party, said: ‘Clearly, he should have taken a train for environmental reasons. It’s an immense sum of money.’Steve McCabe, Labour MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, said: ‘People stuck on trains and in traffic queues in the sweltering heat will be appalled to find out that David Cameron was spending thousands of pounds of their money on a helicopter to ferry him to a publicity stunt.

‘Once again it just shows just how out of touch the Tories are.’Mr Cameron’s spokesman said: ‘The Prime Minister will use the most appropriate form of travel.’Asked why an RAF helicopter was deemed to be the most appropriate mode of transport on this occasion, he replied: ‘Because it was. I’m not a travel agent.‘The Prime Minister travels in a range of different means, of course dependent on the event he is going to. We publish the costs of ministerial travel. Everything is as cost-effective as possible.’

Asked if he had travelled by helicopter to avoid sitting on a hot train, the spokesman said: ‘I didn’t have a thermometer.’Former deputy prime minister John Prescott made fun of the flight on Twitter, despite the fact that he was once flown by helicopter to a Grand Prix at Silverstone, paid for by the Motorsports Association.Mr Prescott, who also took his chauffeur-driven car the short distance from a Bournemouth hotel to the Labour Party conference, tweeted a link to a train ticket website yesterday, saying: ‘David Cameron, you really should try this. It’s amazeballs.’ – DailyMail