Boris Johnson's relaxing summer

Mr Johnson quit as Conservative party leader on July 7 but has stayed on as PM until his successor is chosen on Sept 5. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - While increasingly worried Britons faced rampant inflation and spiralling energy prices, Mr Boris Johnson has had a more relaxing summer.

Mr Johnson quit as Conservative party leader on July 7 but has stayed on as British prime minister until his successor is chosen on Sept 5.

As contenders Ms Liz Truss and Mr Rishi Sunak wooed Tory grassroots members around the country, Mr Johnson went on holiday, first to Slovenia, then to Greece.

Major fiscal decisions could wait until the winner was installed in Downing Street, he said, leading to charges he was leading a "zombie government".

At the end of July, the Johnsons - Boris, 58, and his third wife Carrie, 34 - celebrated their 2021 wedding with a glitzy party.

The event had been due to take place at Chequers, the prime minister's taxpayer-funded country retreat, just outside London. But a wealthy Tory donor stepped in to offer the use of his 18th century mansion after public criticism of the use of Chequers.

In early August, the couple, who have two young children, spent a belated honeymoon in a remote eco-hotel in the mountains of Slovenia.

"Love is in the name of Slovenia, and we've had a wonderful time," Mr Johnson told local media.

Leaving it to who's next

Back in Britain, he visited an Airbus factory in Wales on Aug 11, but again insisted that all major decisions to tackle the cost of living crisis would be made by his successor.

Soon afterwards, he was in Greece for a second holiday in Nea Makri, a seaside resort to the north-east of Athens, media reports said.

During his absence, giant removal vans were seen in Downing Street.

Mr Johnson's spokesman was unable to say when he would be back at work, or confirm that the couple had officially moved from the famous residence.

Back in Britain, last weekend Mr Johnson held telephone talks with world leaders, including US President Joe Biden about international security cooperation. He also reportedly gave the green light to government funding of a new nuclear power plant costing at least £20 billion (S$33 billion).

On Aug 23, he addressed a conference on support for Ukraine, organised by President Volodymyr Zelensky.

After a visit to the headquarters of the domestic intelligence agency MI5 to thank them for their work, he popped up the following day in Kyiv.

Mr Johnson's third trip to Ukraine this year saw him hold a joint news conference with Mr Zelensky and receive the country's top civilian honour.

'Absolutely unforgivable'

But the main opposition Labour party seized on Mr Johnson's lack of engagement to resolve sky-rocketing energy prices.

"Where are you?" said Labour leader Keir Starmer. "At the moment being missing in action is absolutely unforgivable."

On Sunday (Aug 28), Mr Johnson published an upbeat piece in The Mail+, writing that his successor would announce "another huge package of financial support".

Mr Johnson acknowledged that the coming months would be "perhaps very tough" while insisting the country would emerge "stronger and more prosperous" from the crisis.

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