Relax, Osborne, you are in California after all

Politicians live in lap of luxury on their summer getaways

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Indy Politics

It must be tempting simply to stay at home. There are few more politically charged decisions a politician can make, it seems, than where to take a summer holiday.

Too hot, too cold, too flashy, too austere. It is tough to win. The Prime Minister and his wife have walked the tightrope, holed up as they now are in a luxurious Tuscan villa, previously rented by the French Prime Minister – but having arrived by flying with a budget airline.

But the Chancellor, George Osborne, has again eschewed the trappings of constraint and checked in with his family to Mr C Beverly Hills, the latest hotel venture from the Cipriani family. Many of the rooms run to £1,000 a night. The Chancellor, too, is thought to be paying his own bill, though he may be able to call in a favour.

The first Cipriani venture, Harry's Bar, in Venice, opened in 1931 and was a favourite hangout of Baron Philippe de Rothschild, with whom the Osbornes go way back.

Spain, Los Angeles and Devon are the other destinations for the country's top politicians, each of them fraught with minor political perils.

The Camerons are sharing the £9,700-a-week Petrolo Estate with two other families that are old friends, with their share coming to £5,800. Unlike "Tuscan Tony" Blair, who was regularly criticised for accepting free stays, the Camerons have been keen to stress they are paying. It may seem expensive, but the estate's common credentials are boosted by its association with a man of the people, Jamie Oliver. He regularly takes his Fifteen restaurant apprentices to the 300-year-old property, which has a private garden, a pool and tennis court.

Mr Cameron will not be meeting the embattled Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi, as the Blairs often did on their many Tuscan jaunts, but he has not managed a complete disassociation from the bunga-bunga scandal that has captivated Italy. The second-cousin of the Camerons' host, Baron Luca Sanjust, is the former television announcer Virginia Sanjust. She resigned from her job amid rumours that she was Mr Berlusconi's mistress.

Mr Cameron will return to Britain in two weeks and take a second holiday in Cornwall, where his daughter Florence was born last August.

Nick Clegg's family, meanwhile, is in Olmedo in Spain, north of Madrid, the ancestral home of his wife's Gonzalez dynasty. Foreign Secretary William Hague remains in the UK and is the most senior politician at home, though Downing Street insists the Prime Minister is still in charge, via his Blackberry.

Ed Miliband is housebound in north London following surgery to correct his deviated septum. Once rested, he will head to north Devon. The forecast: drizzle, light rain, mostly cloudy, scattered showers.