All the holidays Boris Johnson has been on during his time as Prime Minister

Tory leader attacked over second overseas vacation of the month as ‘zombie government’ fails to tackle steadily worsening cost of living crisis

Joe Sommerlad
Tuesday 16 August 2022 13:17 BST
Boris Johnson spotted shopping in supermarket during Greek holiday

Outgoing prime minister Boris Johnson is facing a thunderstorm of derision after being spotted in a Greek supermarket on holiday.

It is his second vacation this month with the Tory succession race still unresolved and Britain’s cost of living crisis worsening by the day.

Mr Johnson and his wife Carrie Johnson were filmed at Nea Makri, a coastal town east of Athens and only a few hours away from his father Stanley Johnson’s villa, at a time when the electorate are bracing for an October bump in energy bills to £3,600 a year.

“On the evidence of the last few months it seems to make little difference if the prime minister is in the office or on holiday,” a Labour Party spokesman said.

“It’s all just one big party for Boris Johnson while the country struggles with the Tory cost of living crisis.”

Liberal Democrat MP Munira Wilson was even more scathing, remarking that the PM and his “zombie government” had shown “a complete failure of leadership” in recent weeks.

“As the country is gripped with drought, our health service collapses, and the cost of living emergency turns into a cost of living catastrophe, Boris Johnson puts his out of office on for the second time in two weeks,” she said.

But what will have stung Mr Johnson far more personally was the fact that the hashtag “GetBackToWorkYouFatPonce” was trending on Twitter on Monday morning.

Boris and Carrie Johnson posing with dog Dilyn and son Wilfred in the Scottish Highlands (Carrie Symonds/Instagram)

Not long after the former Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis had come to the PM’s defence, denying he has “thrown in the towel” and telling LBC, “I can assure you he will still be going through inboxes, he will still be dealing with national security issues”, a Downing Street spokesman was forced to admit his boss would only be working on “urgent” matters.

“He is contactable, as you would expect, but he is on leave,” the official added, somewhat apologetically.

What will be particularly galling for many is that Mr Johnson will be out of office permanently after 5 September anyway, when either foreign secretary Liz Truss or former chancellor Rishi Sunak succeeds him, and yet still feels entitled to relax on the beach on taxpayers’ time with the country caught up in a crisis he declines to address.

This summer has already seen him host a lavish wedding reception at Tory donor Lord Bamford’s 18th century manor Daylesford House in the Cotswolds (his initial plan to hold it at Chequers provoked uproar) and spend time at a mountain resort spa in Slovenia noted for its “soothing energies”, “high magnesium content” spring water and lack of wi-fi in its wood-panelled rooms.

Brandon Lewis insists Boris Johnson will still be working while on holiday

This latter trip was reportedly a “mini-moon” following the wedding party and saw the Johnsons and their two small children, Wilfred and Romy, stay at the five-star Vila Planinka eco-hotel, situated in the Kokra Valley about half an hour away from Ljubljana.

“We’ve climbed every available mountain, we’ve jumped in the lakes, we’ve been on bicycles,” Mr Johnson told reporters. “We’ve seen incredible things, huge caves and salamanders!”

Owner Katja Batajelj confirmed that the couple had made the most of the natural surroundings during their stay and dined out on local delicacies including “bear cheeks” and “bear prosciutto”.

”He was one of the most pleasant guests we have had and asked for nothing,” she said. “He was enthusiastic about the food and drink. If all guests were like him we’d be very lucky.”

No stranger to a cushy vacation since entering No 10, Mr Johnson spent time last summer at Tory peer Zac Goldsmith’s mansion in Marbella.

A 13-room mansion known as Torre Tramores nestled in the hills above the Costa del Sol, the property boasts 600 acres of woodland and its own helipad and lists Princess Diana and former cricketer and Pakistani PM Imran Khan among its former guests.

Less typically, the Johnsons used the lockdown summer of August 2020 to go on a six-day cottage staycation on Scotland’s Applecross peninsula.

Still attempting to make a show of leading by example at that point, the PM told the public: “I would still encourage people to think of wonderful staycations here. All my happiest holiday memories are of holiday vacations in the UK, bucket-and-spade jobs or whatever.”

Mr Johnson was filmed by a shopper in Greece (Independent TV)

The couple were spotted out rambling along the coast with the infant Wilf and Jack Russell Dilyn before having to cut the trip short when they were photographed without their consent and their security was compromised.

Mr Johnson also reportedly came close to drifting out to sea on a paddleboard before he was rescued by minders.

“He nearly drowned,” a government source told The Times. “He got swept away and found himself going further and further out.”

Even more controversially, Mr Johnson accepted another offer from a prominent Tory donor, this time Carphone Warehouse co-founder David Ross, to stay at a luxury villa in Mustique in the Caribbean in late December 2019, just after the Conservatives won that year’s general election.

The property, set amid the white sands and lush palms, is said to have six rooms, three swimming pools, two bars, a library and four full-time staff.

Mr Johnson tucking into an ice cream during a visit to Haven Perran Sands Holiday Park in Perranporth, Cornwall, in April 2021 (PA)

Members of the royal family, Sir Paul McCartney, Johnny Depp, Jennifer Lopez, Shania Twain, Jon Bon Jovi and Noel Gallagher are all understood to have previously stayed at the same estate.

But the 10-day trip was the subject of a Parliamentary Standards Committee probe in May 2021 over who precisely paid for it and the possibility that the PM might have broken the ministerial code.

It ultimately found that Mr Johnson’s register entries regarding the jaunt had been “accurate and complete” but said the funding arrangements had been “ad hoc and informal” and expressed frustration that the PM had not been more proactive in helping to dispel the confusion.

“Given that Mr Johnson was twice reprimanded by our predecessor committee in the last Parliament in the space of four months for an over-casual attitude towards obeying the rules of the House, we would have expected him to have gone the extra mile to ensure there was no uncertainty about the arrangements,” the committee said in July 2021.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in