5 Times Boris Johnson Has Gone Missing In Action Since Resigning

Prime minister, who went on holiday on Wednesday, will remain in Downing Street until September 6.
<strong>Boris Johnson will be stepping down at prime minister in September</strong>
Boris Johnson will be stepping down at prime minister in September
Charles McQuillan via Getty Images

Boris Johnson has been widely accused of shirking his Downing Street duties ever since he reluctantly agreed “them’s the breaks” and resigned at the start of July.

Despite calls for him to leave office early and let a caretaker prime minister take over, Johnson refused and said he would be staying in Downing Street.

But, the outgoing prime minister has “basically checked out” already, according to leader of the opposition Keir Starmer, while MoneySavingExpert Martin Lewis claimed the UK had a “zombie government” at the moment.

Here’s just some of the times Johnson appears to have gone AWOL over the last month.

1. Quick family holiday

Despite having little over a month left in office, Johnson has decided to schedule in some annual leave. He left Downing Street on Wednesday and is not expected to return to his desk until next week.

According to his official spokesman, he will remain in charge of the country and will be updated as required, while “the deputy prime minister and, as ever with a cabinet government, other ministers will be on hand to support when needed”.

Downing Street refused to say where he would be during this period of absence, and would not clarify if it was a belated honeymoon days after Johnson’s lavish wedding party.

The prime minister has remained on holiday even as the Bank of England unveiled its bleak predictions for the UK, with inflation set to reach 13.3% and a recession lasting five quarters.

To make matters worse, Johnson’s newly appointed chancellor Nadhim Zahawi is on holiday too.

Abena Oppong-Asare, Labour’s shadow exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said: “Families and pensioners are worried sick about how they’ll pay their bills, but the prime minister and chancellor are missing in action.

“The fact they’re both on holiday on the day the Bank of England forecasts the longest recession in 30 years speaks volumes about the Tories’ warped priorities.”

2. Absence at the Euro 2022 finals

Despite making an appearance at the men’s Euro 2020 final, Johnson sent foreign secretary Liz Truss, culture secretary Nadine Dorries and work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey in his place for the women’s final on Sunday.

Liz Truss, Therese Coffey and Nadine Dorries with Sadiq Khan at the Euro 2022 Women's final
Liz Truss, Therese Coffey and Nadine Dorries with Sadiq Khan at the Euro 2022 Women's final
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA via Getty Images

He posted an image of himself watching the game with his two youngest children, Wilfred and Romy, from home.

When No.10 asked about Johnson’s support for the Lionesses, his spokesperson said the public “would judge the government on the support it has given to women’s football”.

“This is a government that has stood steadfast in terms of supporting the women’s game and investing in it. The prime minister has been supporting the team throughout and is watching the game with his family at home.”

Johnson has also faced further backlash over not inviting the Lionesses to No.10 after their victory last weekend, an honour usually awarded to winning England sports teams.

3. Lavish wedding at Tory peer’s home

After much backlash, Johnson and his wife Carrie decided not to have their belated wedding party at the prime minister’s official country residence, Chequers, when he resigned.

Instead, they agreed to celebrate their wedding at a Conservative peer’s home estate in the Cotswolds on Saturday.

Protester Steve Bray demonstrates near where Boris Johnson and wife Carrie held a first wedding anniversary party for friends and family.
Protester Steve Bray demonstrates near where Boris Johnson and wife Carrie held a first wedding anniversary party for friends and family.
Steve Parsons - PA Images via Getty Images

It came a year after the pair had a scaled-back wedding in 2021, in line with Covid restrictions.

Grade I-listed mansion, owned by Lord Bamford, is the chairman of construction equipment manufacturer JCB. He has donated millions to the Conservatives.

4. Absence at Commonwealth Games opening ceremony

Johnson did not attend the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games which took place in Birmingham this year. Culture secretary Nadine Dorries attended in his place.

Instead, he posted a Twitter message the night before the events kicked off, which said: “The UK rightly has an outstanding reputation for hosting major sporting events, and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham will be another fantastic opportunity to showcase the best of Britain on a global stage.”

5. Missing Cobra meetings over the heatwave

Johnson missed emergency Cobra meetings ahead of the heatwave in July, when temperatures hit up to 40.3C – the hottest day on record for the UK.

He was pictured flying fighter jets around the same time, although his official spokesman was unable to say what was in Johnson’s diary at the time of the Cobra meeting.

His spokesman said: “Kit Malthouse has made the point that he is taking the lead on the government’s response to the heatwave, he’s keeping the prime minister fully briefed including over the weekend when the prime minister also spoke to a number of secretaries of state about the work they are doing.

“And it is not unusual in cabinet government for cabinet ministers to chair these sorts of things.”

Before You Go