The British opposition on Friday accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson, supposed to manage current affairs while waiting for his successor to be appointed, of being “missing” when the Bank of England warned that recession was looming.
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In the wake of shock announcements from the central bank which predicted that the country would enter its longest period of recession since the 2008 financial crisis, the British media reported that the Prime Minister and his Finance Minister Nadhim Zahawi were on holiday away from London.
The Conservative government “is missing”, denounced the number two of the Labor Party, Angela Rayner, on Twitter.
Downing Street declined to say where the Tory leader is spending his holidays, but the Slovenian government, contacted by AFP, said Boris Johnson had traveled to Slovenia for a “private” stay.
“The British Embassy in Slovenia has informed us that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is on a private visit to Slovenia. Due to the nature of the visit, no meeting (with Slovenian officials) is planned,” the government said.
On Friday morning, the Minister for Energy and Business, Kwasi Kwarteng, admitted that he “did not know where Boris is” while ensuring that he was in “permanent contact” with him.
“He just got married, I think he’s on his honeymoon and…I don’t think a lot of people will blame him,” he told Times Radio.
Boris and Carrie Johnson celebrated their wedding last weekend, a celebration that had been pushed back by the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Karteng added that it is “completely wrong” to accuse the government of inaction at a time when members of the Conservative Party are voting to replace Boris Johnson, who announced his departure in July, pushed out by a series of scandals.
The Tories must choose between poll-leading foreign minister Liz Truss and ex-finance minister Rishi Sunak, with the outcome of the vote to be announced on September 5. Boris Johnson will officially step down the following day.
Since announcing his resignation he has made few appearances and has already been criticized for missing crisis meetings over the historic heatwave that hit the UK last month or not having received the English footballers after their victory at the Euro.
According to the central bank, the recession will begin at the end of 2022 due to the surge in energy prices, which will push inflation to more than 13% in October and further aggravate the current dramatic crisis in purchasing power that British households are suffering.
“We are going to have to wait four weeks for an emergency budget because that is how we help people – it will be up to the new Chancellor, the new Prime Minister, whoever they are, to come up with the measures,” said Kwasi Karteng on Times radio.
“But the idea that we do nothing in the meantime is wrong,” he added.
Despite being away from London, Finance Minister Nadhim Zahawi said in a statement on Thursday that for him “there are no vacations”, and that he continues to have calls and briefings “ daily”.