Theresa May is to take a three-week holiday this summer in Italy and Switzerland, Downing Street has revealed.
The Prime Minister will head off on Monday for a five-day break in northern Italy, followed by a further fortnight in the Swiss Alps, No.10 said.
She will briefly visit Belgium between the two legs of her trip, to attend an official World War One centenary commemoration of the battle of Passchendaele.
The PM’s spokeswoman said that May and her husband Philip would spend much of their break walking together. “She’s obviously a big fan of walking, walking will be a strong feature of the holiday.”
Asked if the PM was taking three weeks consecutively because she was ‘tired’, the spokeswoman replied it been a “very busy week”in Parliament and Whitehall.
“[With] Government announcements from HS2 to the education announcement to the state pension announcements and others, it’s been a productive and busy week.
“The PM has been getting on with the job of government and as you would expect, she will take a holiday. She is looking forward to her holiday.”
Her foreign trip comes just days after the crunch talks on Brexit started their second phase, with Brexit Secretary David Davis making clear “areas of difference” with Brussels.
With her authority over the Tory party weakened by her loss of a Commons majority in the June general election, she warned her Cabinet this week against “backbiting” and leaks.
The PM made her fateful decision to call a snap election while on her last walking holiday with her husband, in Snowdonia in Wales at Easter.
Labour’s Shadow Equalities Minister Dawn Butler was quick to make the connection, suggesting another election would be a great idea.
May will still “be in charge” and “she will be constantly updated from Downing Street”.
Asked who would chair emergency Cobra and other key meetings in her absence, the spokeswoman replied: “There are various ministers on duty over the period.”
First Secretary of State Damian Green and Brexit Secretary David Davis are among those who could step in in London.
An official photo of the Mays in northern Italy will be taken at the start of the trip.
Reaction on Twitter to the big break was mixed.
Usually, Prime Ministers take a fortnight away, but rarely embark on three consecutive weeks on holiday.
Although David Cameron became notorious for his ‘pointing at fish’ breaks in Cornwall, he often was only away from No.10 for two weeks at a time.
The last PM to take a full three-week break was Tony Blair in 2002, when he and his family were the guests at Cliff Richard’s villa in Barbados.