Fury as £20,000 cost of Boris Johnson Heathrow vote-dodging trip revealed

Posted On: 
16th August 2018

Boris Johnson is under fire after it emerged his trip to Afghanistan to dodge a Commons vote on Heathrow expansion left taxpayers footing a £20,000 bill.

Boris Johnson's trip has cost the taxpayer around £20,000
PA Images

Labour has called on the former foreign secretary to pay the cash back after it was revealed his last-minute dash cost at least £19,366.

Mr Johnson was fiercely criticised when it emerged he would miss the crunch vote on the third runway plans, after previously promising constituents he would “lie down in front of those bulldozers” if expansion went ahead.

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But the Conservatives imposed a three-line whip on MPs to back the expansion, meaning Mr Johnson would have been forced to quit the Government to vote against it.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office revealed to the Ferret that it had forked out £19,366 to cover costs for three staff members accompanying Mr Johnson.

But in its response to an FoI request it refused to reveal the additional costs for travel and security for the former foreign secretary.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said Mr Johnson had “scuttled out of the country at the taxpayer’s expense rather than honouring his promise to constituents”.

He called on the former Cabinet minister to repay the bill from earnings he receives from his weekly Telegraph column.

“Perhaps our former foreign secretary will consider using some of the money he earns insulting Muslim women with his lucrative £20,000-plus a month column to pay back the taxpayer,” the Labour frontbencher fumed.

Mr Johnson’s whereabouts were only revealed when the Afghan government tweeted out pictures of the visit.

He was later forced to defend the decision to leave the country, saying: “My resignation would have achieved absolutely nothing.”

The Government comfortably won the June vote on the issue by 415 votes to 199.