Sadiq Khan fails his own transport test

Sadiq Khan fails his own transport test
Text settings

As the London mayoral race heats up, Sadiq Khan has gone on the offensive when it comes to the cost of public transport under the Tories. The Labour candidate -- who promises a four-year fares freeze if elected -- says that when it comes to value for money, things have got so bad that a luxury transatlantic Virgin flight from London to New York now works out more cost effective than a short trip from South Kensington to Heathrow on the Piccadilly line. While the flight comes to 32p a mile, the tube journey is more, at 42p a mile.

So, with Khan focussed on making sure members of the public don't have to pay sky-high prices for transport, Mr S thought it wise to check whether Khan practises what he preaches. How do Khan's taxpayer-funded jaunts from his time in government fare under his new test for value for money?

Alas, it seems that he hasn't always been so focussed on low-cost travel. Back in 2009 when Khan was Minister of State for Transport, he travelled to Luxembourg for the day for an EU Transport Minister’s meeting. For this, he claimed £1,183 in travel expenses to and from the meeting -- even though return flights can easily be purchased for around £240.


So, where does this rank when it comes to value for money? London is 303 miles from Luxembourg so a return trip would make 606 miles. That means that Khan's travel appears to have come to a costly £1.95 per mile which is over five times the amount per mile of an 'upper class' flight to New York or a trip from South Ken to Heathrow by tube.

Could it be the case that Khan is less fussed about his own low-cost travel when the bill is being footed by the taxpayer?

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from London and beyond. Email tips to

Topics in this articleSocietysadiq khanzac goldsmith