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Are you as shocked as John Prescott about ministers going on holiday?

By Tim Montgomerie
Follow Tim on Twitter.

16044098 The Mirror and John Prescott are very excited about the PM, Deputy PM and Chancellor being away on holiday. Prescott has been tweeting excitedly away all day, at one stage joking that Larry the Cat was in charge of the country!

A few quick fire observations:

  • Some of us remember when John Prescott was Deputy PM and not always paying full attention to his work.
  • At least, unlike Tony Blair, our politicians pay for their breaks.
  • Everyone knows that Cameron and Osborne have a few pennies so it would be false for them not to go to Tuscany/ LA and get refreshed.
  • Ministers may be abroad but they're not out of touch. This is the internet age, Mr Prescott. Osborne has, for example, been in touch with Mervyn King today. Hopefully the Governor was at Threadneedle Street, rather than the Oval.
  • There are other ministers able to keep shop. William Hague did a good job earlier of explaining the government's view of the crisis. Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, was on Radio 4 at lunchtime.
  • There's nothing much more Osborne/ Cameron could do if they were here. Their challenge is to come up with a decent competitiveness strategy. That's a marathon work, not a sprint. We don't need short-term panic actions.
  • Other ministers are getting the opportunity to shine while the big beasts are away. Francis Maude has, for example, announced some important things on waste and transparency. Sir George Young has fronted the petitions initiative. Justine Greening has been doing the media rounds.

Mr Prescott is whipping up a classic silly season story. In fact I probably shouldn't be giving it attention. So I'll stop now with a hope that our top politicians are having restful holidays and they'll come back more effective for them.

7pm Matthew Update:

This evening, David Cameron spoke (on the phone) to Angela Merkel about the €urozone crisis and the instability in European and American stock markets. He spoke to George Osborne, too - also about economic issues. As above, Ministers may be abroad but they're not out of touch.

However, John Prescott continued to be shocked. Indeed, he could only offer two words of sour reaction to the news the Prime Minister was in contact with key economic allies:



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