Jeremy Corbyn hits out at 'shoddy deal' as Tories pay for RAF jet flight for Arlene Foster
The Conservatives paid for DUP leader Arlene Foster to fly back to Northern Ireland on an RAF jet after she agreed a deal to prop up the minority Tory government, it has emerged.
The Mail on Sunday reports that the Tories will have to stump up approximately £20,000 to the Ministry of Defence after being told that the taxpayer could not pick up the tab for the trip.
Jeremy Corbyn described the flight as a “shoddy bung”, but the Tories said the flight had enabled Ms Foster to return promptly to negotiations about forming a power-sharing executive in Northern Ireland.
She had been in No 10 on Monday to finalise the agreement for the DUP’s 10 MPs to support the Conservatives in key Commons votes.
The unionist party's leader flew back to Belfast in the afternoon to return to talks to try to break the impasse between the DUP and Sinn Fein at Stormont.
Labour leader Mr Corbyn called for more details about the flight arrangement.
“Theresa May has already given an extra £1bn to Northern Ireland to hang on to power and now it appears she gave a free RAF flight to Arlene Foster to seal the deal,” he said.
“This is a shoddy bung to shore up a Government that has lost its mandate.
“The Conservatives must come clean. Did they try to make the taxpayer foot the bill for this flight and how often does the Tory party book RAF flights?”
A Conservative spokesman, however, dismissed any wrongdoing.
“Arlene Foster was in London to conclude the signing of the confidence and supply agreement. The Conservative party paid for a flight back to Belfast to allow her swiftly to resume talks on re-establishing a power-sharing executive in Northern Ireland.”
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