Boris Johnson is taking a holiday again just weeks after returning from another summer break, as he enters his final few weeks in Downing Street.
But a Tory MP has insisted the prime minister is still working, as the Tory leadership race rivals hoping to replace him clash over the cost of living crisis.
The PM, who will resign from No. 10 on 6 September, took a holiday to an eco-hotel in Slovenia earlier this month, and is taking another break this week.
He will return to work this weekend, Downing Street said.
Critics earlier accused him of going missing in action while pressure grew on the government to boost help for households struggling with soaring energy bills.
Financial journalist Martin Lewis labelled Mr Johnson's administration a 'zombie government' last week as forecasters warned of staggering bills hikes beginning with the first of several energy price cap rises from October.
Now, the outgoing prime minister is reportedly on another break - this time in Greece.
The Times newspaper reports Mr Johnson is spending a week-long holiday in the country, with locals spotting him shopping alongside wife Carrie in a supermarket in Nea Makri, a town to the east of Athens.
Footage shared by Greek news outlet Proto Thema captured the pair shopping.
On Monday, former Cabinet minister Brandon Lewis defended the prime minister, rejecting any suggestion that he had “thrown in the towel."
The Tory MP told LBC: “Even when you are not in the office in Downing Street you are working.”
He added: “He’s probably in about his second week (of) holiday in the last year or so, certainly this year. So while somebody is away, whether they are secretary of state or let alone the prime minister, they will be continuing to work.
“I can assure you he will still be going through inboxes, he will still be dealing with national security issues where relevant. Being out of the country does not mean the prime minister stops working.”
Boris and wife Carrie were spotted in a supermarket on their holidays in Greece
But Labour criticised the PM, accusing him 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.”
Downing Street has insisted that the Prime Minister will be kept informed of any “urgent issues” while on holiday this week.The Prime Minister’s official spokesman confirmed on Monday that Mr Johnson is on leave and will return this weekend.
The spokesman told reporters that Mr Johnson had paid for his own holiday and would be kept informed of any pressing Government business while away.
“The Prime Minister is on holiday this week,” he said.
“As is the way with prime ministers as you know by virtue of their role they’ll obviously be kept informed on any urgent issues and make decisions particularly those (related to) national security for example.”
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.”
Asked if Boris Johnson’s holiday could have waited a few weeks, his spokesman said: “I can’t get into the decision around timings but he is on leave this week. He will be back this weekend.”
Mr Johnson has only weeks left in Downing Street and will resign from No 10 on September 6 and despite the holidays, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said that “Government activity continues”.
“Over recent weeks we’ve made a number of significant announcements and will continue to do so in the coming days.”
Some of Mr Johnson’s previous trips have also sparked controversy.
The PM was reported to have begun a holiday in Somerset while the Taliban was advancing on Afghanistan’s capital last summer, before he swiftly returned to Westminster.
And a Spanish holiday in a villa owned by the family of minister Lord Goldsmith, also in 2021, drew criticism over transparency.
Labour criticised Mr Johnson for declaring a free holiday at the Mustique villa with Mrs Johnson on the list of ministers’ interests, but not on the parliamentary register.
The parliamentary register requires the publication of more details, such as the value of the stay.
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