The leaders of all three main political parties have joined the Olympic athletes, officials and spectators in leaving the country this week. However, instead of returning home, they are heading out for holidays. Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Labour Party leader Ed Miliband have all departed for their annual family getaways now that the Olympic Games are over. Cameron and Clegg are both reported to be going to Spain for their holidays, while Miliband is understood to be heading to Greece.
The exact location that Cameron will be spending his holiday in hasn't been revealed by officials, but he will away for about ten days. He will return home for a couple of days, in time for the Paralympic Games to open on August 29. After a few days of events, he and Samantha, his wife, will take their three children to visit Cornwall for a short getaway. The family has spent part of their holiday time there in the past, with their daughter Florence being born there in 2010.
Cameron says that he needs a holiday just as much as anyone. He defended the timing of his departure at a press conference that celebrated the success of the Games and outlined work to ensure the benefits last for the long-term. He says he's a big believer that politicians are human beings and need to have holidays. He doesn't call it annual leave, but a holiday. He's looking forward to having a break. He thinks anyone who doesn't think politicians should have holidays needs to seriously rethink their stance. Despite his leave to Spain, he added, he will return for the Paralympic Games' opening ceremony.
Speaking about London 2012, Cameron said the events proved that its time for the UK to harness the feel-good factor Team GB generated to get the economy out of its rut. He says the country showed the world what they are made of, reminded themselves what they can do and demonstrated that Team GB should never be counted down and out. They are going to ensure these aren't just Games that made history but Games that helped shape the future. They have looked in the mirror over the last couple weeks, he added, and like what they saw.
Clegg is spending a fortnight in Olmedo. This is where Miriam González Durantez, his wife, grew up, and her family still lives there. Miliband will spend a fortnight on a Greek island with Justine Thorton, his wife, and their sons – Samuel and Daniel.
With Cameron and Clegg on holiday, Foreign Secretary William Hague will be the nation's most senior minister remaining. He will be responsible for the government's day-to-day business. Despite the fact that Cameron will be overseas, No. 10 officials insist he will still be in charge and accompanied by a fully working office, secure communications and security officials.
Next week, the most senior minister in Whitehall will be Home Secretary Theresa May. During the month, every department will have at least one minister on duty. This comes as Parliament is in its summer recess and won't return until September 3. Cameron says the government will get a good start in the autumn, and he promises a packed scheme of initiatives on the economy and other matters.