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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 March 2007, 13:30 GMT
Tory leader in green controversy
David Cameron
All Mr Cameron's flights are offset, his spokesman said
Labour has accused Tory leader David Cameron of hypocrisy after it emerged he used a private jet to travel 90 miles from Oxford to Hereford.

Mr Cameron's spokesman said the return flight on 4 January had been offset for carbon emissions.

His green credentials were put under further scrutiny by the Sunday Mirror which examined the contents of his bin and found various recyclable items.

Friends of the Earth said it was not the sort of behaviour they expected.

The Conservative leader travelled with his wife Samantha and daughter Nancy from Oxford airport, near his Witney constituency, to the home of businessman Richard Smith in Shobdon.

Emissions

The Tory leader's spokesman said Mr Smith was designing a new wheelchair for Mr Cameron's son, Ivan.

"[Mr Smith] offered a plane to get them there because David had to be back that evening. He was due to give a speech on the armed forces.

"All the flights that David takes are offset for carbon emissions, as are the road and rail trips."

If politicians ignore their own responsibility, it's difficult for them to expect others to do anything else
Roger Higman, Friends of the Earth

Flying generates around one and a half times the carbon emissions of a journey by car.

But shorter trips by air create proportionally more CO2, since so much is generated at take-off and landing.

The campaigns director of Friends of the Earth Roger Higman said Mr Cameron had a duty to show responsibility.

"What really matters is what the government does in setting a framework of sustainability. But we expect to be led, and that includes personal behaviour.

"If politicians ignore their own responsibility, it's difficult for them to expect others to do anything else."

'Regrettable'

Oliver Letwin, in charge of the Tories' policy review, said such actions were a "regrettable" part of political life.

"In politics you are sometimes in an amazing rush.

"I certainly wouldn't criticise the prime minister for having to do that sort of thing occasionally."

But Labour's John Healey, a Treasury minister, said the incident showed Mr Cameron's commitment to the environment was "all for the cameras".

"It just shows that Cameron believes there's one rule for him and his Tory friends, and another for the rest of us."

Rubbish

The Tory leader's green credentials came under further examination from a tabloid newspaper that examined the contents of his bin.

The Sunday Mirror found recyclable waste mixed with the general rubbish, as well as disposable nappies.

The paper accused Mr Cameron of failing to live up to his green crusade.

But Mr Cameron's spokesman rubbished the accusation.

"David Cameron does as much recycling as he can", he said.

"He buys biodegradable nappies for one of his kids but can't for another.

"We are happy to defend his record on recycling, but we do think the conduct of the Sunday Mirror has been pretty sick."




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