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PM’s official plane used for ‘boozy jolly’ over the UK, report claims | Politics News

The prime minister’s official jet was used for a “boozy jolly” by civil servants, according to a report.

Sky News understands a number of officials joined the 91-minute journey over the UK – and that it took place with “usual catering for a flight”.

The Sun newspaper claims that during the 700-mile trip – which reportedly cost £50,000 – a “fancy meal with a selection of alcoholic drinks” was served.

Flight data shows it took off from Stansted and headed to the Lake District before returning.

A statement on behalf of the government, given to Sky News, said: “In order to comply with Airbus and aviation industry rules, the aircraft was legally bound to operate a maintenance flight before 4 September or face significant additional storage costs.”

The RAF Voyager used by the Prime Minister and the royal family on the runway at Cambridge airport where it has been repainted in the colours of the Union flag at a cost of almost 1 million.
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The RAF Voyager is used by the Prime Minister and the Royal Ramily

It is claimed that the trip by a number of Foreign Office civil servants was necessary to ensure that – following “a recent reconfiguration of the aircraft” – it would “still meet ministerial requirements”.

Labour’s shadow trade secretary Emily Thornberry told The Sun: “This would be utterly disgraceful behaviour at the best of times, but in the middle of our country’s current crisis, it is shameful beyond words.”

The RAF Voyager plane is shared between Boris Johnson and the Royal Family. Once grey, it was resprayed white, and given a Union Jack on its tail in a controversial £900,000 makeover.

The news of the alleged “jolly” comes as Boris Johnson and his allies have launched a legal fightback against a Commons inquiry into claims he lied to parliament about partygate.

The inquiry into Mr Johnson, by the all-party Privileges Committee, has been denounced as “a witch-hunt” and “a kangaroo court” by his allies after the committee announced it could rule against him even if he did not deliberately mislead MPs.

Board of Cricket Scotland resigns with immediate effect following racism claims | UK News

The board of Cricket Scotland has resigned with immediate effect following allegations of racism.

The directors sent the letter of resignation to the interim chief executive officer this morning.

It comes after Sky News revealed yesterday that a “devastating” review into Scottish cricket has found it be institutionally racist.

Scotland correspondent James Matthews reported that the review – expected to be published on Monday – has led to multiple referrals to a number of organisations, including Police Scotland, for racist behaviour.

A spokesperson for Cricket Scotland said: “Cricket Scotland will work in partnership with SportScotland with immediate effect to ensure appropriate governance, leadership and support is in place for the organisation and the sport in the days ahead, and these arrangements will be reviewed after the publication of the report into racism in cricket in Scotland and updates given accordingly.”

In the letter to the interim chief executive Gordon Arthur, the board wrote that “we are all truly sorry” to everyone who has experienced racism in Scotland, and “we believe we must now step aside to enable the required progress to be made in the coming months”.

The board had six members who stepped down.

A spokesperson for SportScotland said: “This has been an exceptionally challenging time for everyone involved in Scottish cricket.

“We have been made aware of the board’s decision and as the national agency for sport, we will take immediate steps to provide significant additional governance and leadership support to Cricket Scotland.”

Aamer Anwar, who is representing two of the complaints, said that his clients welcomed the resignations.

Leading wicket-taker spoke of abuse

The review was conducted following allegations made by Scotland’s all-time leading wicket-taker Majid Haq that Cricket Scotland was “institutionally racist”.

In an interview with Sky Sports, last November, Haq and former team-mate Qasim Sheikh spoke of abuse that both had suffered throughout their careers.

Both men said they were treated differently from team-mates because of the colour of their skin.

The following month, SportScotland appointed Plan4Sport – an organisation that specialises in issues around equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) – to conduct a review, which has taken contributions from several hundred people.

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Former Scotland cricket player Qasim Sheikh told Sky News he felt he was treated differently because of his skin colour

Cricket Scotland is ‘dysfunctional’

On Saturday, it was revealed that investigators will support the claims of institutional racism within Scottish cricket.

One source told Sky News: “The fundamental claim at the start of this was about institutional racism at the heart of cricket. This review concludes that it’s very much the case.”

Mr Anwar spoke to Sky News ahead of the report’s publication and said: “Cricket Scotland is dysfunctional and institutionally racist – if that is confirmed by this review, it will be devastating for Cricket Scotland.

“There are those within the organisation who should be ashamed of their treatment of Majid and Qasim and so many other cricketers who gave their lives to cricket but saw their careers taken away from them.

“In any other walk of life, the individuals responsible would find themselves out of a job, in a jail cell, or banished from public life.

“Yet, when it comes to cricket, they are rewarded with promotions and status.

“Racism exists in Cricket Scotland and my clients know that has been the case for many years, through generations of cricketers.”

Cricket - Holland v Scotland - Twenty20 International - The Brit Oval - 3/6/09 Scotland's Majid Haq Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Paul Harding
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Majid Haq is Scotland’s leading wicket taker. Pic: Action Images/Paul Harding

Read more from Sky News:
Rafiq calls for ‘total clear-out’ of Yorkshire leadership
England Test captain vows to change cricket’s dressing room culture

Events in Scotland follow a racism scandal in English cricket.

Last year, several top officials resigned from Yorkshire County Cricket Club following allegations by former captain Azeem Rafiq.

He complained of institutional racism at the club and said abuse regarding his Pakistani heritage had left him close to taking his own life.