Rishi Sunak stepped in to prevent the cancellation of the VIP helicopter contract.

Prime minister, who is often criticized for his love of air travel, requested Grant Shapps to take action.

Rishi Sunak personally intervened to prevent the cancellation of a contract that provides VIP helicopter transportation for himself and senior ministers, according to recent revelations.

Earlier this year, the former defense secretary, Ben Wallace, terminated a £40m contract for two private helicopters used by politicians and senior defense staff, which were operated by RAF personnel and based at the Northolt airbase in west London. The contract was scheduled to end in September.

Sunak has faced ongoing criticism for his tendency to take flights and helicopters for short trips instead of opting for cheaper and less polluting means of transport.

In May, The Guardian reported that Sunak took a costly helicopter flight from London to Southampton for a journey that would normally take 75 minutes each way and cost £30 for a return ticket.

A month later, he used an RAF helicopter to travel from London to Dover for a speech on small boat crossings, a journey that could be completed in just over an hour on high-speed trains.

Critics argued that these examples demonstrated the prime minister’s lack of understanding about the state of public transport in the UK.

Subsequently, Grant Shapps, the successor to Wallace as defense secretary, acted to prevent the cancellation of the contract. No reason was provided for this change at the time.

However, a report in the latest edition of Northolt Approach, an RAF in-house magazine, on page 12, reveals that this reversal was made at the prime minister’s request.

Tom Woods, the leader of the squadron responsible for operating and maintaining the helicopters, stated that the termination of the contract “marked the end of an era in which the Royal Air Force, and particularly No32 (the Royal) Squadron, has operated the AW109 helicopter in that role from RAF Northolt since 2006.”

“However, in mid-September 23, the new secretary of state for defense, the Rt Hon Grant Shapps, reversed the decision at the request of the prime minister,” Woods added.

Woods also mentioned the frantic activity that took place to ensure the necessary elements were in place to continue the AW109’s service seamlessly.

Emily Thornberry, Labour’s shadow attorney general, expressed her months-long efforts to determine who authorized the contract extension and when.

“Since October, ministers have been evasive in responding to my questions in parliament regarding why this contract was extended, how the decision was made, and at what cost. Now we know why,” Thornberry commented. She has accused Sunak of having an “addiction to helicopters and private jets.”

The prime minister’s intervention to prevent the cancellation of the contract was exposed by the Sunday Times over the weekend.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence stated, “All ministerial and senior defence official travel is undertaken using efficient and cost-effective travel arrangements. This contract was extended primarily to facilitate travel for the command functions of the Ministry of Defence.

“As a whole, domestic flights within the United Kingdom allow ministers to visit more parts of the country within the available time, particularly areas farther away from London, and reduce the need for ministers and accompanying staff to stay overnight. Security considerations are also taken into account.”

The extended helicopter contract is with Sloane Helicopters based in Northamptonshire.

The prime minister’s official spokesperson has previously emphasized that helicopter flights are the most “efficient and best use” of his time.

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