Boris Johnson is spending this week away from Downing Street in the west of England with family – but Number 10 insisted he was “continuing to work” and declined to describe the trip as a holiday.
“The prime minister is away for the next two days in the west of England but is continuing to work and will be back in the office in Downing Street on Thursday,” Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said on Tuesday.
“He left on Sunday, I believe.”
Asked if the prime minister’s four-night trip constituted a holiday, the spokesman said: “He is away, as I say, out of the office for a couple of days, but he is working.”
Number 10 said Mr Johnson “continues to lead the overall government response” to the Afghanistan crisis.
But Downing Street would not confirm whether Mr Johnson’s wife, Carrie, or the couple’s son, Wilfred, were with him.
It follows a row over Dominic Raab’s holiday to Crete, during which the foreign secretary was reported to have spent time on the beach as Afghanistan’s capital Kabul fell to the Taliban.
Mr Johnson was also previously criticised this month for attempting a break away from London – which he later cut short – amid Afghanistan’s takeover by the extremist group.
Number 10 usually confirms whether a prime minister taking time away from Downing Street is on holiday.
Mr Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, enjoyed walking holidays in Wales and Switzerland while in power.
And Mr Johnson and his now wife (then Carrie Symonds) themselves enjoyed a break in Mustique following the Conservatives’ general election victory in December 2019 – a trip for which the prime minister was later criticised over his failure to properly disclose how it was funded.
Last year, the couple spent time on holiday in Scotland with Wilfred.
Earlier this month, Mr Johnson was reportedly spotted at Taunton station as he cut short time away from London after just one day to deal with the Afghanistan crisis.
The prime minister owns a one-fifth share of a property in Somerset, the county where he spent much of his childhood.
The Johnson family are said to own a 500-acre farm in Somerset, where some of them – including the prime minister’s father Stanley – reportedly stayed during the coronavirus lockdown last year.