London, Aug 5 (AFP/APP): A British cabinet member admitted Friday “I don’t know where Boris is” as the prime minister checked out on holiday, in a week that saw the Bank of England warn of a year-long recession is coming.
Boris Johnson has since Wednesday been on a belated honeymoon with wife Carrie, according to Downing Street.
Aides said he still remained at the helm, rather than handing over temporarily to Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, but refused to confirm the honeymoon destination.
The UK embassy in Ljubljana confirmed that Johnson was on a private visit to Slovenia.
Johnson will have a lot more time on his hands after September 6, when he is due to hand over to either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak as Conservative leader, but decided to take a break sooner.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi is also on holiday this week, and the opposition Labour party accused the government’s two senior-most members of being “missing in action”.
“I don’t know where Boris is, but I’m in constant contact with him,” Business Secretary and Truss supporter Kwasi Kwarteng told Times Radio.
He said he exchanges WhatsApp messages with both Johnson and Zahawi “all the time”, and insisted that criticism the government was doing nothing about the economic crisis was “false”.
Zahawi said he had remained in touch with Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey on Thursday after the central bank hiked interest rates from 1.25 to 1.75 percent, the biggest rise in 27 years.
The bank is trying to rein in surging inflation, which it warned could peak at 13.3 percent, as it forecast the UK economy would enter a recession in the fourth quarter that will last until late 2023.
“For me, like I’m sure lots of others, there is no such thing as a holiday and not working. I never had that in the private sector, not in government,” Zahawi said in a statement.

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