Red, white and blue; UK PM Johnson's plane gets a patriotic makeover

LONDON (Reuters) - A plane used by the Royal Family and Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be painted red, white and blue to “better represent the UK around the world,” a patriotic makeover after Britain’s departure from the European Union.

Johnson is keen to foster a sense of patriotism when Brexit, which happened in January, is cemented with the end of a status quo transition period with the EU, but opposition parties were quick to criticise what they called his misguided priorities.

“The RAF Voyager used by the royal family and the prime minister is currently in Cambridgeshire for pre-planned repainting,” Johnson’s spokesman told reporters.

“This will mean that the plane can better represent the UK around the world with national branding ... while also retaining its military air-to-air refuelling capability,” he said, adding it would cost 900,000 pounds ($1.1 million) to repaint the plane in the colours of the British flag.

Opposition parties questioned spending almost a million pounds on the makeover at a time when COVID19 was playing havoc with the economy.

Louise Haigh, Labour’s Northern Ireland policy chief, said people would question the cost when “families across the country are worried about their jobs, health and the education of their children”.

From the Liberal Democrats, Layla Moran, who is running to become leader of the party, described the decision as “a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money”.

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Stephen Addison