Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Boris’s holiday to Spain ‘important for the whole country’, minister claims

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Damian Hinds, Boris Johnson and Carrie Johnson.
Damian Hinds believes the PM needs to have a break (Picture: Getty)

Boris Johnson’s holiday to Spain is ‘important for the whole country’, one Government minister has claimed.

The Prime Minister has faced criticism for taking a break while the UK faces a number of serious issues, including spiralling gas prices, various shortages, and a cost of living crisis.

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But Home Office minister Damian Hinds defended the PM’s decision to go abroad – asking ‘when is the right time?’ when pressed over whether Mr Johnson should have travelled.

Industry leaders have slammed the break, while Labour called on the Government to get a ‘grip’ on the ‘chaos’ facing the UK.

Mr Hinds was asked by Sky if now was the right time for the Prime Minister to go on holiday.

He replied: ‘When is the right time? I think it is important that people do have an opportunity to be with their families to have some relaxing, unwinding.

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‘But I wouldn’t want to overstate the amount of unwinding and relaxing you get to do as prime minister because as I say you are constantly in touch, you are constantly being briefed and you remain in charge of the Government.’

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He later added: ‘What is important for the rest of us actually, for the whole country, is that the Prime Minister does get to have some family time, does get to have a break.’

Labour shadow Treasury minister Pat McFadden said he ‘doesn’t care’ whether or not Mr Johnson is currently on holiday.

He said: ‘I honestly don’t care where he is. What I want is grip from the Government.

‘Whether he’s in Spain, whether he is in the UK, it seems just as chaotic when the Prime Minister is here.

‘So, frankly, I’m not concerned whether he’s on holiday or not. What I want is grip from the Government, and we haven’t got that at the moment.’

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson and wife Carrie Johnson, wife arrives to deliver his leader's keynote speech during the Conservative Party conference at Manchester Central Convention Complex on October 6, 2021 in Manchester, England.
Boris and Carrie Johnson were at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester last week (Picture: Getty Images)

Downing Street said on Tuesday that Mr Johnson is continuing to work on Government business while in Marbella.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that he had taken a call from Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and was being updated on the work to address supply chain problems.

He said: ‘The Prime Minister continues to be in charge as is always the case.

‘He is in regular contact with with ministers and No 10. He is also continuing to take calls particularly in the run-up to Cop26.’

The spokesman refused to be drawn on reports that Mr Johnson was staying at the villa of Environment Minister Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park, or to say whether the he had paid for the holiday himself.

‘Any declarations that need to be made will be made in the normal way, but I don’t have anything to add to that. I wouldn’t get into anything on location for security reasons,’ the spokesman said.

Holidays have repeatedly caused difficulties for Mr Johnson’s Government.

Dominic Raab was demoted from his role as foreign secretary having been blasted for staying on vacation in Crete while the Taliban rapidly tore through Afghanistan and took power.

And in 2019, The Prime Minister himself also endured months of scrutiny after a trip to the Caribbean island of Mustique.

He was ultimately cleared of breaking the MPs’ code of conduct after an investigation into whether he adequately registered £15,000 worth of accommodation paid for by a Tory donor.

Last year he was ‘nearly swept out to sea’ on a disastrous trip to the Scottish highlands.

Referencing the latest holiday to Spain, Gareth Stace, the director general of UK Steel, said: ‘I’m sure he can get on the phone and get talking to them but to my mind, now is not the time for a prime minister to be on holiday, from the steel sector point of view.’

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