Holidays

PM set for three-week walking holiday in the Alps

Theresa May is to attempt to recover from the personal trauma of her election blunder by taking a three-week walking holiday in the Alps.

She will head for the Alps in Northern Italy on Monday and stay for five days before attending the Passchendaele 100th anniversary ceremony in Belgium on 31 July.

The Prime Minister and her husband Philip will then resume their holiday by going to the Swiss Alps for a fortnight, before returning to Downing Street on 14 August.

No 10 has not revealed the exact venues in Italy where the Mays are staying, but she has previously named the Swiss regions of Zermatt and Bernese Oberland as favourites.

Mrs May has long enjoyed travelling to Switzerland and took her summer holiday there last August, just weeks after becoming Prime Minister.

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David Cameron would often take a week off in Cornwall and then go abroad

“If you’re a keen walker, Switzerland is a wonderful summer destination,” she has previously declared. “The views are spectacular, the air is clear and you can get some peace and quiet.”

But Tory MPs will hope the clear air in Switzerland does not have the same effect as the Welsh air in Snowdonia did at Easter when she decided to call the election.

“There may be some in the party who want her to take a hike,” said one insider. “And it seems she’s doing just that, literally! But let’s hope she doesn’t make any crazy decisions this time!”

Downing Street said the PM and her husband will use commercial flights for the return journeys to Italy and Switzerland, but would not say in which class the couple would fly.

Supporters say she fully deserves a three-week holiday after the stress of the election result and the feuding in her Cabinet as a result of her loss of authority.

Gordon Brown walks through Whitlingham Country Park in Trowse, Norfolk in 2008
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Gordon Brown was known to hate holidays

Mrs May is said to have admitted privately that the weeks after the election miscalculation have been the most difficult for her personally since her parents died when she was in her 20s.

Asked if Mrs May was tired, her official spokeswoman said the Prime Minister had just had a very busy week.

She said: “The Government announcements from HS2 to the education announcement to the state pension announcements and others, it’s been a productive and busy week.

“The PM has been getting on with the job of government and as you would expect, she will take a holiday. She is looking forward to her holiday.”

Downing Street refused to say which Cabinet minister would be in charge of the Government while she is away, even though Damian Green is now First Secretary of State and Deputy PM in all but name.

Tony Blair on holiday with his family in Tuscany, Italy in 2000
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Tony Blair’s holidays often proved controversial

No 10 said there would be a rota of ministers on call, but stressed the Prime Minister would remain in charge even while out of the country.

It is her first three-week break since she became Prime Minister. David Cameron would often take a week off in Cornwall and then go abroad for a fortnight, usually flying on a low-cost airline before posing for a photo call.

Gordon Brown hated holidays, returning to Downing Street from Suffolk after just a few hours in 2007. But he took a month’s break in his Kirkaldy constituency in summer 2009.

Tony Blair’s holidays were often controversial, since he accepted free hospitality from the millionaire Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson in Tuscany, Sir Cliff Richard in Barbados and Silvio Berlusconi in Sardinia.

In between the Italian and Swiss legs of her holiday, Mrs May will join the Prince of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Belgium for the 100th anniversary of the First World War battle.

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