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But should taxpayers have paid to fly FOUR Ministers to Dumfries House... to discuss carbon emissions

By Natasha Livingstone ROYAL CORRESPONDENT

THE King was facing criticism last night for forcing four Cabinet Ministers – including the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt – to fly 400 miles to his private mansion in Scotland for a taxpayer-funded meeting.

He was accused of an ‘outrageous waste of money’ and climate hypocrisy because the meeting was held partly to formally appoint the new Net Zero Minister in charge of cutting carbon emissions.

Mr Hunt, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, Privy Council President Penny Mordaunt and Energy and Net Zero Secretary Claire Coutinho all flew on the same plane to Ayrshire for the Privy Council meeting on Friday at taxpayers’ expense. Ordinarily Privy Council meetings are held monthly at Buckingham Palace or Windsor, but the King held the meeting at Dumfries House to coincide with a party on Friday night to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the public opening of the property, which he bought for £45million in 2007.

The King is a well-known climate campaigner and yesterday morning opened a sustainable farming skills centre on the Dumfries House estate. A few hours later he appeared to have flown to Doncaster racecourse, 230 miles away.

Last night former Lib Dem MP Norman Baker, himself a Privy Council member, said the King’s decision to host a meeting of the council in Scotland ‘drives a coach and horses through any claim he has to be interested in the environment,’ adding: ‘This is an outrageous waste of money by King Charles.’

A Government spokesman declined to say how much the flight cost or if the plane was private or commercial – but stressed that value for money was a priority.

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