All the times Boris Johnson holidayed during a national crisis 3 months ago

All the times Boris Johnson holidayed during a national crisis

One way to avoid hefty charges on your heating bill is to jet somewhere hot. Leading by example, the PM has been enjoying a few days of respite in Marbella

After the Covid pandemic, and petrol panic that gave way to an energy crisis, rising food prices, and cuts to Universal Credit - it's no surprise some Brits might feel like a holiday roundabout now.


If only they could only afford it. Like Boris.

The one person not impacted by any of that, but partly responsible for some of it, is said to be currently sunning himself in Spain, having closed the Conservative Party conference with a "economically illiterate" keynote speech.

According to reports, the Prime Minister, his pregnant wife, Carrie, and their 17-month-old son are now enjoying a private villa on the Costa del Sol. 

“In the teeth of a crisis of its own making, the Government has put its out-of-office on."

The PM is reportedly staying at a lavish property owned by Carrie’s friend and former Mayor of London candidate Zac Goldsmith. 

It is Johnson’s first holiday since his last holiday, to Mustique, was cut short in July due to the crisis in Afghanistan. Remember the one that unfolded while his now deputy, then foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, was dodging phone calls in Crete.  


Johnson's holiday comes two months after a Downing Street source told The Telegraph the PM would holiday in the UK this year. 

Parliament is currently in recess, meaning MPs are not due to return to Parliament until October 18th, but many are choosing this time to focus on pressing matters in their constituencies. 

With Brits facing soaring energy bills, a Universal Credit cut, and empty supermarket shelves, some have questioned the timing of Boris' latest overseas jaunt. 

“In the teeth of a crisis of its own making, the Government has put its out-of-office on," is how Shadow Treasury minister Bridget Phillipson put it. 

And this isn't the first time Boris has chosen to getaway from a crisis.


Here are a few other times the PM chose to phone it in:

Hiding in Highland

In August 2020, Johnson took an ill-timed family trip to the Scottish coast and was later criticised for failing to cut it short to deal with the A Level fiasco. 

The Department for Education oversaw a controversial algorithm to calculate end-of-year exam results, factoring in schools’ past performance as evidence. 


Pupils in not-so-great colleges were awarded grades far below their teacher’s recommendations, sparking a huge backlash. 

Then Education secretary, Gavin Williamson, was forced to make an embarrassing u-turn.

Asked if he’d holiday in Scotland again, Johnson told the Liaison Committee "wild horses couldn’t keep me away!"



Boris Johnson enjoying a walk with son Wilf in Scotland. Pic: Carrie Symonds

Aperitif before Afghanistan 

Despite public warnings the Taliban would descend on Kabul within hours, Johnson headed to Somerset. 

Former senior military and security figures accused him of a “dereliction of duty” after missing nearly an entire week of Parliamentary debate on Britain’s participation in withdrawing from Afghanistan. 

The UK evacuated 15,000 people from Afghanistan, though many were left behind.

After the last flight left Kabul at the end of August, Johnson said "the culmination of a mission unlike anything we've seen in our lifetimes".

Luckily for Johnson, his fumbling of this particular crisis was overshadowed by that of his foreign secretary.

Chaos in Canada

In 2011, riots broke out across London, following the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan by a police officer. 

While the city burned from Tottenham to Croydon, the then Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, was holidaying with his (previous) family in Canada. 

Johnson, unwisely, refused to cut the trip short. 

Speaking to the BBC via phone at the time, Johnson said he had total trust in the police’s ability to cope without him. 

He eventually returned but faced widespread criticism including face-to-face heckling in South London where businesses had been burned to the ground. 

It's raining incompetence

In February of 2020, hundreds of homes were flooded after 500 storm warnings were issued by the Met Office.

The year prior, during the December election, Johnson was seen visiting flood members and convening Cobra government emergency committee meetings to tackle the crisis.

In stark contrast, after having won a comfortable majority with their votes, Johnson was not seen for a week during Storm Dennis.

World War Three?

In January 2020, Johnson faced criticism after failing to return from his new-year break in the Caribbean.

Speaking on Sky News shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, accused the Prime Minister of "sunning himself and drinking vodka martinis somewhere else" and not paying attention to the developing situation in Iran, where Qasem Soleimani had been assassinated. 

Thornberry pointed out that Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, had been left to chair three emergency Cobra meetings in Johnson's absence.

Johnson also didn't cut his trip short for Coronavirus, which was first reported to the World Health Organisation on 31 December 2020.

Related links

Met Police taking 'no further action' against Prince Andrew

Fears of toilet roll shortages again as manufacturers warn of rising costs