A Cabinet minister has defended Boris Johnson for going on vacation as the government struggles to stem a cost-of-living crisis and the fallout from soaring gas prices.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng insisted it was “reasonable” for the Prime Minister to take a break, after he reportedly traveled to Marbella to vacation in a private villa on the Costa del Ground.
Mr Kwarteng said he remained in “regular contact on WhatsApp” with the prime minister, who he said recently lost his mother.
Downing Street did not deny reports that Mr Johnson had visited Spain, but declined to say whether the PM was working at No 10 or Checkers instead, as is common.
Mr Johnson traveled with his pregnant wife Carrie and their one-year-old son Wilf after the Conservative Party conference last week, according to the Mail on Sunday.
The business secretary told Times Radio: “I think he’s gone. I don’t know where he went.
“But what I would say is that I am in regular contact with him. He also had a year and a half in which he almost lost his life to Covid, his mother passed away very sadly two or three weeks ago and he may have decided to take a short break.
“I think it’s something reasonable.
“I am in regular contact with him on WhatsApp, I spoke to him only a few days ago. I don’t know when he is supposed to have left the country.
Labor called for “urgent answers on who exactly is running the show” after claims by Mr Kwarteng that he was in talks with the Treasury over support for struggling businesses during the energy crisis were denied by the Treasury .
Shadow Chief Secretary Bridget Phillipson said: “Faced with a crisis of its own accord, the government has terminated office.
“The Prime Minister has gone on vacation, no one knows where the Chancellor is, and this morning we understand that the Business Secretary has entered the realm of fantasy.”
The holidays have repeatedly caused difficulties for Mr Johnson’s government.
Dominic Raab was demoted from his post as foreign minister after being criticized for staying on vacation in Crete while the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan.
The prime minister himself has also undergone months of scrutiny after a trip to the Caribbean island of Mosquito in 2019.
He was ultimately cleared of breaking MPs’ code of conduct after an investigation into whether he had properly registered £ 15,000 of housing paid for by a Tory donor.
For more stories of where you live, visit InYourZone.