No. 10 has declined to say whether Boris Johnson is vacationing at Minister Lord Goldsmith’s Spanish luxury mansion on accusations of government being “out of office” during a crisis.
It comes after that The mirror reported the Prime Minister enjoying a vacation at the villa on the Costa del Sol owned by Lord Goldsmith, who was given a lifelong title of nobility by the Prime Minister in 2019 after losing his seat in the House of Commons.
When asked whether the Prime Minister paid for the vacation himself – or whether the trip was a donation, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “All statements will be made as usual, but I have nothing to add to that.”
When asked about the reports of Mr. Johnson staying at the home of the Environment Secretary Lord Goldsmith in Marbella, they added: “I would not do anything on site for safety reasons.”
“Required explanations are given as usual.”
Downing Street also insisted that the prime minister remain “in charge” of the government – and turned down proposals that Dominic Raab, the recently appointed deputy prime minister, temporarily filled in.
On Monday, Mr Johnson took calls from both Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman.
“As always, the prime minister is in charge,” added the prime minister’s spokesman.
“The deputy prime minister has an important role to play, including appearing for the prime minister in parliament. Obviously we are on hiatus right now, but the prime minister has taken calls with leaders and others will follow suit.”
The remarks come after Labor criticized Mr Johnson for flying his family to Marbella as the government addressed the deepening energy crisis and cost of living concerns.
“Faced with a crisis that it caused, the government has postponed its official business,” said the shadow Treasury Secretary Bridget Phillipson.
She added, “The two main government departments responsible for the current cost of living crisis spent this morning arguing over whether to speak to each other.
“What a farce. If government ministers cannot even tell the truth about one another, what are our hopes for the challenges our country faces? We urgently need answers as to who exactly is running the show.
“The government needs to get a grip because the British people are paying the price for the Prime Minister’s incompetence.”
Before that, however, Interior Minister Damian Hinds defended the prime minister’s decision to go on vacation, saying Sky news: “When is the right time? I think it is important that people have the opportunity to be with their family to relax and unwind.
“But I don’t want to overstate how much relaxation and relaxation you can do as Prime Minister, because, as I said, you are in constant contact, you are constantly informed and you remain in charge of the government.”
He later added: “What is important for the rest of us, actually for the whole country, is that the prime minister has some family time, a break.”