Rishi Sunak ‘did not take a holiday as chancellor’ as PM accused of going awol during economic crisis

Rishi Sunak ‘did not take a holiday as chancellor’ as PM accused of going awol during economic crisis

Rishi Sunak did not take a holiday in the entire two years he was chancellor sources in his leadership campaign have said, as Boris Johnson and Nadhim Zahawi face accusations of going awol during an economic crisis.

The claim will increase pressure on the prime minister and the chancellor who were on holiday and away from Westminster as the Bank of England warned that the UK is facing a year-long recession.

Mr Johnson is thought to be on a belated honeymoon after his recent wedding party, reportedly in Slovenia.

Mr Zahawi has insisted he is still working and had a call with the Bank of England government Andrew Bailey after its shock prediction.

But there was further embarrassment for the government when the business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng admitted during a television interview, “I don’t know where Boris is” even as he claimed to be in “constant” contact with him.

A Rishi campaign source said that Mr Sunak “did not take a holiday the whole time he was chancellor”.

They conceded that the outbreak of the Covid pandemic meant that his tenure was a crucial period for the Treasury, but added “as it is now”.

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries later hit out at Mr Sunak for his “disappointing” decision to “attack Nadhim Zahawi, the kindest, nicest person you could ever meet in this way”.

She added on Twitter: “Nadhim is not in the leadership race. His response, typical of him, to wish better things for Rishi.”

In December last year Mr Sunak was criticised for being on a four-day official trip to the United States as the Omicron variant hit the UK.

There were also reports that Mr Sunak was due to visit California at Easter, but sources said he did not.

A Treasury spokesperson hit back saying: “As I’m sure he will remember, the chancellor, much like millions of Brits in the private and public sector, is always working, available and switched on, as the incumbent was yesterday, leading calls with the governor of the Bank of England and others.”

He added: “We hope that whatever job he gets next, the former chancellor is able to spend quality time with his family, which is the most important thing to all of us.”

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner accused Boris Johnson’s administration of being a “zombie” government that had checked out after crashing the economy.

“As people up and down the country are sick with worry about how they’ll pay the bills, ministers have gone missing in action,” she said.

Mr Sunak is trailing in the race for the keys to No 10. His leadership rival Liz Truss, who has been dubbed the “continuity Boris candidate”, is thought to have a clear lead with Tory party members who will chose the next prime minister.

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