UK opposition leader Ed Miliband has been criticised by his own party for spending more than £20,000 ($33,600) of public money taking “an army of aides” on an overseas trip to the Middle East, the Daily Mail has reported.
Twelve people, including eight Labour officials, a minister, a senior colleague and his wife Justine, travelled with Miliband to Israel and the West Bank earlier this month.
The bill included business class flights for the Milibands and five-start hotels.
By contrast, Tory sources claim that when Prime Minister David Cameron was opposition leader he travelled with no more than three or four aides.
An outraged Labour frontbencher told the newspaper the “lavish” spending could have political ramifications.
“This was an important trip and no one would begrudge Ed from making it,” the party member was quoted as saying.
“But did he really have to travel with this sort of presidential-style entourage and an army of party flunkeys?
“When we’re desperately trying to paint the Tories as out of touch with people struggling with the cost of living, it just doesn’t feel right.”
Such foreign trips are usually paid for with from an annual taxpayer-funded subsidy given to the opposition party to fulfil its duties.
Miliband’s office defended the bill by saying: “This was a big and important trip and an appropriate number of people were on it.
“All those from Labour on the trip were funded from the leader’s office in the normal way.”