Almost £1m of taxpayers’ money will be used to paint a military plane for use by the Prime Minister in the colours of the Union flag.
An RAF Voyager is being resprayed from its regular grey colouring to red, white and blue at the cost of “around £900,000”, Downing Street confirmed.
It follow’s Boris Johnson’s desire when serving as Foreign Secretary to have a “Brexit plane” to fly around the world in and promote the UK Government’s message of a “global Britain”.
The jet would perform a similar role to the US President’s Air Force One.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman 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.”
The SNP’s defence spokesperson Stewart McDonald condemned the spending, tweeting: “An utterly unacceptable use of public funds whilst members of the armed forces are spending their own money on uniforms and kit, and the equipment plan deficit is well into the billions for several years running.”
Mr Johnson complained in 2018 that the RAF Voyager jet, which is shared by the Prime Minister, senior Cabinet members and the royal family, “never seems to be available”.
Sky News reported a defence source saying the military jet’s paint job sounded like something “from Austin Powers”.
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