Blair jets out while cabinet colleagues take time off at home

Tony Blair may be flying to Barbados as the Westminster village decamps this summer but his less peripatetic cabinet colleagues are venturing no further than Scotland and the near-Continent.

The Blairs will enjoy a rock-star break at Sir Cliff Richard's Caribbean holiday home overlooking the surf breaking on the white beaches of Barbados's Platinum Coast. But his ministers seem more inclined to follow last year's trend of taking at least part of their holidays in Britain when the Cabinet flew the flag for domestic tourism after the foot-and-mouth epidemic.

Gordon Brown, whose wife Sarah is heavily pregnant, is abandoning his customary summer in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to stay in his native Scotland this summer.

Margaret Beckett, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, famous for her love of camping, will take to her trusty caravan and head for France after a few days in her Derby constituency. Tessa Jowell, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, is returning to the West Highlands for a week with her family.

David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, will make the short journey from his Sheffield constituency into the Pennines to visit Derbyshire. He then plans to top up his tan in the south of France. Alistair Darling, the Secretary of State for Transport, is also looking forward to a few days in Scotland before heading to an unspecified location on the Continent.

Peter Hain, the Europhile Leader of the Commons, is taking a delayed honeymoon at an undisclosed destination on the Continent. Mr Hain married the businesswoman Elizabeth Haywood, a former Welsh Woman of the Year, last month, but could take only two days out of politics after the ceremony in his south Wales constituency. He has not disclosed the honeymoon destination.

Many cabinet ministers regard their holiday arrangements as private. The Foreign Office was vague about the summer plans of Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, for whom exotic travel is part and parcel of the job. "He is going somewhere in Europe," a spokesman said.

The plans of Charles Clarke, the Secretary of State for Education, John Reid, the Secretary of State for Health, Baroness Amos, the Secretary of State for International Development, and Andrew Smith, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, were not known. John Prescott's choice also remained a closely guarded state secret. The Deputy Prime Minister is traditionally unadventurous in his travels, often preferring the pleasures of the West Country to the perils of international resorts - a penchant that critics say colours his working itinerary.

The Ministry of Defence also refused to say where Geoff Hoon would spend his summer. The Defence Secretary, at the centre of the furore over the death of the weapons expert David Kelly, was heavily criticised for taking his family on a skiing holiday as war with Iraq loomed.

Also unwilling to reveal his holiday plans is Alastair Campbell, the Prime Minister's embattled director of communications and strategy. But he is expected to head for the south of France, which has rapidly replaced Tuscany in the affections of New Labour.

Last year, Mr Campbell, and his partner Fiona Millar, Cherie Blair's press secretary, played host to the pollster Philip Gould and his wife, Gail Rebuck, in the Provencal town of Vaison-la-Romaine.

From the other side of the House, Iain Duncan Smith, a keen fly-fisherman, is also joining the migration north of the border. Charles Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat leader, will fly to Spain next month.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas