"it’s one rule for them and another for everybody else."
Alok Sharma has come under fire for flying to at least 30 countries and not isolating afterwards.
Meanwhile, ordinary travellers face fines of up to £10,000 if they break travel quarantine rules.
He has travelled tens of thousands of miles over the past seven months to prepare the ground for the COP26 global environment in autumn 2021.
Mr Sharma has avoided quarantine by using the ‘Crown servants’ exemption.
However, critics have said it was proof of a “one rule for them” culture for ministers under Boris Johnson.
Green Party peer Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb said:
“I do understand it’s very good to meet people in person, but this is excessive.
“When you’re in charge of COP26, to take this many flights is hypocritical.”
Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Sarah Olney said:
“As usual with this Government, it’s one rule for them and another for everybody else.
“While Alok Sharma flies to red-list countries with abandon, hard-working families can hardly see loved ones or plan holidays as the Government changes travel rules on the hoof.
“People are sick of the Government giving themselves get-out-of-jail-free passes while the rest of us stick to the rules.”
Paul Charles, of travel consultancy PC Agency, said ordinary Brits would be angered by Mr Sharma’s ability to dodge travel restrictions.
He said: “I don’t think families will ever forget how they’ve been treated by ministers when it comes to travel.
“It’s astonishing how the Government think they are above the law and can create rules for themselves.”
Quarantine rules were introduced in February 2021 to stop new Covid-19 variants from coming into the UK.
Travellers arriving from one of 33 red list countries must pay to quarantine for 10 days in a hotel room.
Barrister Adam Wagner told the Daily Mail:
“The public will make up their own minds as to whether it is fair that there are different rules for ministers than for other people doing essential work abroad.”
Alok Sharma has been COP26 president since autumn 2020 and the United Nations climate change conference will take place in October and November 2021.
However, it was revealed he travelled to at least 30 countries to prepare for the meeting and costing taxpayers tens of thousands of pounds, despite telling the public to limit their carbon emissions.
He went to several places in Africa in February then India and Nepal the following month as well as European capitals.
In March, he went to Costa Rica and Kenya, following by Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
In April, Mr Sharma travelled to South Korea and Japan, just days after a Covid-19 state of emergency was declared there.
He visited four European countries in May.
Between June 2 and 4, Mr Sharma was in Bangladesh, a red list country.
On June 10, he met Prince Charles indoors and without a mask at St James’ Palace.
The following day, Mr Sharma visited a primary school in Reading.
Later in June, Mr Sharma visited Turkey, another red list country, and was pictured in a conference where he and the majority of other delegates were not wearing masks.
At the beginning of August, he has been in Bolivia and Brazil.
It was reported that he did not self-isolate after any of the trips.
Alok Sharma’s allies defended him.
They said the trips were made as safe as possible, with the UK team leaving their hotel only for essential meetings.
A source said: “Face-to-face diplomacy is vital to securing commitments from key countries at COP26.
“All UK government ministers who travel abroad are subject to the same rules on quarantine and to a Covid secure testing regime.”
A government spokesperson stated that Mr Sharma had held many video calls in 2021, but that it was also important that he met world leaders in-person to prepare for COP26.
The government said it would calculate the carbon emitted for the event and the flights and offset it through schemes like tree planting.
A spokesman said: “Sustainability will be at the core of COP26.
“The UK will be offsetting all carbon emissions associated with running the event and working closely with sustainability experts to make this happen.”