Net Zero Secretary Casually Dismisses Sunak's Persistent Private Jet Use Amid Climate Concerns

Claire Coutinho said, "let's be serious" when discussing carbon emissions.
Claire Coutinho was pressed over Rishi Sunak's use of private jets on Sky News this morning
Claire Coutinho was pressed over Rishi Sunak's use of private jets on Sky News this morning
Sky News

Net zero secretary Claire Coutinho was called out over the prime minister’s use of private jets on Sky News this morning – only to completely shrug it off.

Rishi Sunak is known for using private planes regularly, racking up an almost £500,000 bill for his preferred mode of transport across just one week in 2022.

However, he seemed to be taking a more low-key approach for his 48-hour election tour around the UK this week by flying in a chartered “economy” aircraft with no first-class.

Still, Sky’s presenter Anna Jones asked Coutinho: “Is it a good look to have Rishi Sunak travelling around the country, thousands for miles for short campaign stops, on a private jet?”

The minister replied: “In all of these things, whether you’re prime minister or whatever it is you might be doing, you have to look at how we’re travelling, that’s very important.

“But also we need to make sure we are speaking to people in the country, this is a democracy, I think it’s right that the prime minister goes and talks to people, particularly when we are in such uncertain times.”

“Does he have to use a private jet though?” Jones noted.

Coutinho curtly replied: “That’s not going to make a massive difference when it comes to carbon emissions, let’s be serious.”

She claimed they have been through “unprecedented crises” and so it’s right Sunak communicates with the public.

Coutinho then tried to redirect onto Starmer’s refusal to accept Sunak’s offer of a weekly debate for the next six weeks.

Jones pointed out that the UK has never used a weekly debate format before, only for the minister to say: “We’ve never been in times like this before.”

Jones hit back: “After 14 years of Tory government, you mean?”

Coutinho ignored that and ploughed on with her criticism of Starmer.

Sunak previously defended his use of private jets, saying it was the “most efficient use of my time”.

The prime minister has also been accused of watering down climate policies, by pushing back the deadlines to phase out gas boilers, and the sale of new petrol and diesel cars.


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