POLITICS
25/06/2018 13:14 BST | Updated 13/07/2018 00:35 BST

Where is Boris Johnson? The Hunt Is On For The Foreign Secretary

He's believed to be heading abroad to dodge a crunch vote on Heathrow.

PA Archive/PA Images
This is what Boris Johnson might currently be doing. But no one is quite sure.

Update: Found him.

Where is Boris Johnson? It’s the question everyone in Westminster is asking today.

The foreign secretary has been given permission to miss a crunch vote today on expanding Heathrow with a third runway, in order to avoid having to resign to vote against the plan.

Theresa May has ordered all her MPs to vote in favour of a third runway, but Johnson, once said he would lie down in front of bulldozers to prevent construction, has been allowed to be out of the country to avoid having to resign over the issue. 

But no one knows where he is... 

Johnson, Theresa May explained last week, was not running scared, but would in fact be, for one day only, the “living embodiment of global Britain”.

But he can’t be far. While Johnson needs to be far enough from London to miss the Heathrow vote on Monday evening, he is due to be back in the Commons at 11.30am tomorrow for Foreign Office questions.

The Foreign Office will not say where he is.

Initially it had been thought he might pop over to the EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg.

But unfortunately for Johnson the meeting finishes too early in the day and he would have had plenty of time to get back to London. 

There have been reports he instead would fly to Africa. And there was also speculation on Monday morning he could be on his way to Afghanistan.

His Cabinet colleagues are, at least in public, claiming to be none the wiser. 

“I have no idea where Boris is,” Transport Secretary Chris Grayling told the BBC this morning.

A Where’s Wally? style book titled “Where’s Boris?” is already available on Amazon.

Tory MPs are also unimpressed with Johnson’s decision to skip town to save his frontbench career.

Senior backbencher Sarah Wollaston said of the foreign secretary: “Being conveniently out of the country I’m afraid won’t wash.”

Greg Hands, who quit as trade minister to vote against the expansion, took a swipe at Johnson for not doing the same.

Johnson defended his decision to avoid having to quit. “My resignation would have achieved absolutely nothing,” he told the Evening Standard this morning as people hunted for him.

Philip Hammond is also abroad today on a nicely timed trip to India. If he had been in London he would have voted in favour of a third runway.