Security Minister Damian Hinds weighed in to defend Boris Johnson who is sunning himself at Tory peer Zac Goldsmith’s luxury Marbella hideaway
A top Tory has claimed it is “important for the whole country” for Boris Johnson to be able to take a holiday as Brits faced a growing cost of living crisis.
Security Minister Damian Hinds defended the PM’s decision to jet off for a Spanish getaway with his wife Carrie and baby son Wilf as families faced Universal Credit cuts, spiralling energy costs and supply shortages.
But UK Steel chief Gareth Stace said “now is not the time to be on holiday” while heavy industries are begging for help to weather soaring gas prices.
He said Mr Johnson needed to “bang ministerial heads together” after an extraordinary spat between the Treasury and the Business Department over whether support would be given to industry.
Mr Hinds weighed in to defend the PM who is sunning himself in a luxury villa owned by Tory peer Lord Goldsmith in the hills outside Marbella.
SIPA USA/PA Images)
Asked if now was the right time for the PM to go on holiday, Mr Hinds told Sky News: “When is the right time? I think it is important that people do have an opportunity to be with their families to have some relaxing, unwinding.
“But I wouldn’t want to overstate the amount of unwinding and relaxing you get to do as prime minister because as I say you are constantly in touch, you are constantly being briefed and you remain in charge of the Government.”
He later added: “What is important for the rest of us actually, for the whole country, is that the Prime Minister does get to have some family time, does get to have a break.”
Labour shadow Treasury minister Pat McFadden demanded the Government got a grip on the chaos unfolding in Britain.
He said: “I honestly don’t care where he is. What I want is grip from the Government.
“Whether he’s in Spain, whether he is in the UK, it seems just as chaotic when the Prime Minister is here.
“So, frankly, I’m not concerned whether he’s on holiday or not. What I want is grip from the Government, and we haven’t got that at the moment.”
But industry leaders questioned whether the PM should be abroad.
Mr Stace, the director general of UK Steel, said: “I’m sure he can get on the phone and get talking to them but to my mind, now is not the time for a prime minister to be on holiday, from the steel sector point of view.”
He urged the PM to get control of warring ministers after Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng was slapped down by sources in the Treasury on Sunday for claiming there were ongoing talks about support for heavy industry.
Mr Kwarteng is due to hold further talks with industry leaders today and throughout the week.
Mr Stace told LBC: “This is a critical time. The Business Secretary has also said it’s a critical situation, and therefore why is Government just sitting on its hands and doing absolutely nothing at the moment?
“From my point of view, today, with the reported Government infighting between the Treasury and BEIS, the Prime Minister now needs to bang ministerial heads together, take control and remember that if he does nothing, then his levelling-up ambition will be left in tatters.”