Where’s Boris? UK’s PM on leave as economic crisis deepens

LONDON: A British cabinet member on Friday admitted “I don’t know where Boris is” as the prime minister went for holiday checks, in a week in which the Bank of England warned of a protracted recession an upcoming year.
Boris Johnson since Wednesday went on a belated honeymoon with his wife Carrie, according to Downing Street.
Aides said he remained at the helm, rather than temporarily handing it over to Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, but declined to confirm the honeymoon destination.
The UK Embassy in Ljubljana confirmed that Johnson is on a private visit to Slovenia.
Johnson will have more time after September 6, when he was scheduled to hand over to Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak as Conservative Party leader, but has decided to take a break earlier.
Prime Minister Nadhim Zahawi is also on holiday this week, and the opposition Labor party accused the two most senior members of the government of being “missing in action”.
“I don’t know where Boris is, but I’m in regular contact with him,” Business Minister and supporter Truss Kwasi Kwarteng told Times Radio.
He said he exchanged WhatsApp messages with both Johnson and Zahawi “all the time”, and insisted that criticisms of the government doing nothing about the economic crisis were “false”.
Zahawi said he remained in touch with Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey on Thursday after the central bank raised interest rates from 1.25 to 1.75%, the biggest increase in 27 years.
The bank is trying to contain rising inflation, which it warns could peak at 13.3%, as it forecasts the UK economy will enter a recession in the fourth quarter extending to the end of 2023.
“For me, like I’m sure a lot of other people, there’s no such thing as holiday and no work. I’ve never had that in the private sector, not in the government,” Zahawi said. in a statement.
Foreign Minister Truss and Sunak, Zahawi’s predecessor as prime minister, clashed again over how to handle the crisis during a televised debate late on Thursday.
“The reality is we’re facing a recession if we continue with our business-as-usual policies,” Truss, who leads surveys of Tory members, told reporters. member on Friday.
She plans an emergency budget for immediate tax relief to combat the cost of living crisis, and revisits the independent Bank of England’s anti-inflation mandate.
However, Sunak said tax cuts financed by more debt would force the bank to raise interest rates more, stressing the need to maintain fiscal rigor and ease pressures. price force first.
Former Cabinet Secretary Liam Fox, a Sunak supporter, has warned against “magic solutions” through the debt-financed tax cuts proposed by Truss.
The two candidates will be held the following Friday to hold another hustings event in front of Tory members, who have voting rights until September 2.
At Thursday’s Sky News debate, Truss was forced to quit after a moderator highlighted her changing views over the years, including a major policy this week on pay for workers. public sector personnel.
But Sunak also faced embarrassment after video emerged of him telling the wealthy Kent base Tories last week that, as prime minister, he had diverted government funds from “deprived urban areas”.
His campaign said that in the video released by New Statesman magazine on Friday, Sunak was merely stressing the need to shift the focus of government assistance to other towns and rural areas. .
But senior Labor MP Lisa Nandy said: “This leadership race is showing the true colors of the Conservatives.
“It is scandalous that Rishi Sunak openly brags that he has fixed the rules for transferring taxpayer money to prosperous Tory employees.”

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