Party leaders head off on holidays


David Cameron today headed off on his summer holidays as the leaders of the three main political parties joined the post-Olympics exodus from the UK.

The Prime Minister was understood to be heading to Spain - as was Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who was setting off for his traditional two-week sojourn with his wife's family.

Labour leader Ed Miliband was keeping the Olympic theme with a fortnight in Greece.

In Mr Cameron's absence, Foreign Secretary William Hague will take charge of the day-to-day business of government as the senior duty minister in London this week.

Mr Cameron's official spokesman said: "The Prime Minister is now on holiday. As we do every year, we have a ministerial rota. The system is no different to previous years."

The spokesman said that Mr Cameron would be returning to the UK next week and would be "back in the office for a couple of days".

He will then head off for a "short break" in the UK before returning to London in time for the start of the Paralympics.

Mr Cameron, who attended a series of events at the Games, said yesterday that he needed a holiday as much as anyone, as he defended the timing of his departure at a press conference celebrating the success of London 2012.

"I am a great believer that politicians are human beings and they need to have holidays," he said.

"I don't call it annual leave, I call it a holiday and I am looking forward to having a holiday. If you don't think politicians ought to have holidays I think you need to have a serious think."