THE co-founder of a protest group which shut down one of the country’s busiest airports is publicly funded, it is claimed.

Brighton-based Natalie Jeffers, co-founder of Black Lives Matter UK, missed the protest at London City Airport because she was flying to a feminist conference in a luxury beach resort in Brazil at the same time.

Nine protesters locked themselves together on the runway on Tuesday in a protest to “highlight the UK’s environmental impact on the lives of black people”.

A Sunday Times investigation revealed a separate company founded by the University of Brighton graduate has received almost £50,000 in Department for International Development funding.

The newspaper claimed Mrs Jeffers had been on at least seven long-haul flights in the past year, some part funded with taxpayers’ money.