UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been away from office at a time when the country saw the Bank of England warning about a year-long recession coming.
A senior British minister admitted Friday “I don’t know where Boris is” as the premier checked out on holiday. Downing Street has refused to say where Johnson is holidaying for a belated honeymoon with wife Carrie this week. However, according to The Times newspaper, he is in Slovenia.
Johnson decided to take a break ahead of September 6, when he is due to hand over to either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak as Conservative leader.
The opposition Labour party slammed the government as two senior-most ministers are “missing in action.” Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi is also on holiday, according to reports.
“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. Kwarteng also said that he is in contact with both Johnson and Zahawi “all the time.”
Kwarteng also responded to the criticism the government was doing nothing about the economic crisis, saying that the claims are “false.”
The Bank of England last week hiked interest rates from 1.25 to 1.75 percent, the biggest rise in 27 years. The central bank warned it could peak at 13.3 percent, as it forecast the UK economy would enter a recession in the fourth quarter that could 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.
A recession is “not inevitable,” said Foreign Secretary Truss.
“To say to people, your real incomes are being squeezed and I’m going to put your taxes up, I think is just adding insult to injury,” Kwarteng told Sky News.