No 10 defends PM's holiday as removal vans seen in Downing Street

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Image source, Reuters

Boris Johnson will be kept informed of any "urgent issues" while on holiday this week, Downing Street has said.

The prime minister - who was criticised for taking a holiday earlier this month amid growing economic turmoil - is now on another break.

It comes as removal vans were spotted in Downing Street earlier on Monday.

The PM's spokesman confirmed Mr Johnson would return from holiday at the weekend, when he will have two weeks to move out of his No 10 flat.

The prime minister, who was forced to announce his departure in July after a cabinet mutiny, will officially stand down on 6 September.

It is not known if he will return to the Downing Street flat before it is handed over to Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak, who are competing to take over as Conservative leader and prime minister.

It was reported over the weekend that Mr Johnson is spending a week in Greece, with locals spotting him shopping alongside wife Carrie in a supermarket in Nea Makri, a town to the east of Athens.

Asked if his holiday could have waited a few weeks, the prime minister's spokesman said: "I can't get into the decision around timings but he is on leave this week. He will be back this weekend."

The spokesman told reporters Mr Johnson had paid for his own holiday and would be kept informed of any pressing government business while away.

He added: "If there were urgent decisions that required the PM's input he will, of course, be involved in that.

"But the deputy prime minister [Dominic Raab] is able to be deputised for meetings should they come up but as far as I'm aware there are no such meetings currently scheduled.

"Over recent weeks we've made a number of significant announcements and will continue to do so in the coming days."

Mr Johnson's spokesman said that the prime minister would remain "contactable".

Media caption,

Watch: I'm not going to apologise for holiday with my wife and kids - Starmer

But Labour accused Mr Johnson of treating recent months as "one big party".

A spokesperson said: "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 as he has continually failed to meet the challenge of the Tory cost-of-living crisis.

"It's all just one big party for Boris Johnson while the country struggles to pay their bills."

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer recently got back from his own summer holiday, in Mallorca, amid criticism he has also been missing in action during the cost of living crisis.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I've got a very important job as leader of the Labour Party, leader of the Opposition, but I've also got another job that's really important and that is I'm a dad and I'm not going to apologise for going on holiday with my wife and kids.

"It's the first time we've had a real holiday for about three years."

Mr Johnson shares his official flat in 11 Downing Street - which is owned by the government - with his wife Carrie, whom he married in spring last year.

An expensive refurbishment carried out in 2020 attracted controversy after it emerged a Tory peer had initially covered part of the cost, on top of the annual £30,000 public grant Mr Johnson receives to pay for redecorations.

An inquiry by the UK's elections watchdog later revealed the prime minister had spent £112,000 repaying the peer for the cost of the works.

The PM's spokesman said that upon leaving office, Mr Johnson would be able to remove any furniture that had been paid for privately, whilst items funded by the taxpayer would remain.