London trip

Sturgeon’s farewell tour cost taxpayers £1,200

Nicola Sturgeon on Loose Women March 2023
Nicola Sturgeon on Loose Women in March

Former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon spent £1,200 of taxpayers’ money on business class flights and a luxury hotel to appear in a series of farewell TV interviews.

She chose expensive flights between Scotland and London rather take a cheaper train journey which would also have been in keeping with her statements on the environment.

The former SNP leader also snubbed an invitation to address MPs on the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee, preferring a round of media interviews and an appearance on ITV’s Loose Women. She also delivered a speech to the Royal Society of Arts.

Her two-day trip cost £1,230.02, including £515 spent on one night in a swanky London hotel.

The records of ministerial engagements, travel and gifts for March indicate that further public money was lavished on government drivers to take ministers home from Ms Sturgeon’s leaving bash at the Ghillie Dhu in Edinburgh’s West End. Scottish government cars should be used for ministerial business.

Tory MSP Annie Wells said Ms Sturgeon should have ‘set an example’ and kept costs to a minimum.

She added: ‘The fact that she also thought it appropriate to take a short and costly business class flight to London also flies in the face of her repeatedly asking the Scottish public to do their bit to tackle the climate emergency while in high office.’

Ms Sturgeon’s security staff and advisers also travelled with with her.

Two weeks after her London trip, police swooped on the home she shares near Glasgow with husband Peter Murrell, the SNP’s former chief executive. Both were interviewed by police investigating party finances.

The pair, along with party treasurer Colin Beattie who was also quizzed, were released without charge pending further inquiries.

A Scottish Government spokesman told Mailonline that the trip to London was “the best value for money possible for the Scottish taxpayer”, adding that “any business flights taken by Scottish Government ministers and employees are offset by a carbon levy.”

Taxpayers last year spent almost £150,000 for Ms Sturgeon to attend the Cop27 climate conference in Egypt despite her having no role at the event.

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