Boris Johnson has been pictured walking on a Cornish beach with his son Wilfred as he chose a staycation amid weeks of chaos at Britain’s airports for millions desperate for a post-pandemic foreign break.
The Prime Minister has been in the West Country campaigning as he tries to win the Tiverton and Honiton by-election for the Tories on June 23, but is squeezing in a short family holiday.
And after a flying visit to the Devon constituency he headed to Cornwall to launch his food strategy at the wheel of a tractor before relaxing on the award-winning Porthminster beach, St Ives.
The Tory leader was seen holding four-year-old Wilfred’s hand and clutching a child’s spade for sandcastles as they enjoyed the June sunshine together at 2.30pm yesterday.
Wearing a white shirt and garish swimming shorts, other beachgoers described him lounging on the beach with his wife Carrie, Wilf and baby Romy. He also sat digging in the sand and appeared to walk over to the water and get his feet wet.
Locals’ reaction was mixed, as some said it was a ‘pleasure to meet him’ and called him ‘genuine’ and ‘kind’ towards his wife children. Other more unkind residents suggested that his presence would mean Porthminster could lose its Blue Flag status for cleanliness while one cruel person on a local Facebook group said it was a shame he wasn’t eaten by sharks.
The Cornwall trip is far less controversial than their last break, when Boris accepted a free £25,000 summer holiday for himself and his family from a millionaire former MP he made a peer. Staying in the UK also meant that he could avoid the chaos at many of Britain’s airports where staff shortages are leading to long delays at check-in, problems with baggage collection, queues at passport control and hundreds of cancelled flights.
Boris Johnson walks across the sands of north Cornwall at Porthminster beach yesterday afternoon with his son Wilfred
Mr Johnson was seen disembarking from a tractor in Cornwall during the food strategy launch
Abandoned luggage at Glasgow Airport in a scene repeated across the UK in recent weeks
The Prime Minister quietly revealed that Lord Zac Goldsmith allowed him, Carrie and Wilfred to stay at his £25,000-per-night estate near Marbella without payment before Romy was born. Boris was seen painting on the terrace while his wife and son played in the sun and its vast grounds.
What is causing the airport chaos in Britain?
Frustrated travellers queue at the Jet2 check-in at Manchester Airport terminal on Monday
The aviation industry is struggling to cope with a huge post-pandemic rise in demand for travel abroad amid a severe staffing shortage that is particularly affecting easyJet, British Airways, Tui Airways and Wizz Air.
Some airlines have not been able to ramp up their operations quickly enough for the numbers of people travelling, which has surged in recent months following the lifting of restrictions both domestically and abroad.
The boss of Heathrow has warned of up to 18 months of disruption as the industry struggles to recruit and train staff to replace those let go during the pandemic.
The airlines are desperately trying to rehire people – with security staff, ground handlers and check-in staff among the areas in which they are struggling to recruit.
But there is a huge backlog for vetting new staff with security background checks often taking months required before training can even begin. And this all comes in the context a labour shortage, with more vacancies than workers available to fill the roles.
Airports such as Manchester, Bristol and Gatwick have been among the worst-hit in recent months with customers facing huge queues amid airline advice to arrive earlier than normal for flights.
Hours before his trip to the Cornish coast, Boris drove a tractor slowly over a courgette field and was shown a modern vegetable planting machine on a Cornwall farm.
The Prime Minister got into the cab and was shown how to operate the vehicle, moving it very slowly forward as courgette pickers followed behind, sorting the vegetables into crates at the back.
The farmer then showed Mr Johnson a machine capable of planting 150,000 plants a day, saying it is much more efficient than traditional planting techniques.
‘So you can plant a lot of cabbage,’ the Prime Minister said, describing it as ‘unbelievable’ and ‘fantastic’.
He said his grandmother used to grow prize pumpkins, adding that some ‘exploded’.
He then defended the Government’s new food strategy amid criticism from its own lead adviser, who said the plans lack vision and fall short.
The Prime Minister denied the proposals fail to tackle obesity and said the best way to lose weight was to ‘eat less’ as he visited a farm in Cornwall on Monday.
Mr Johnson insisted he was ‘very grateful’ for the work done by Leon restaurant co-founder Henry Dimbleby, who was behind the major review into the country’s food system.
But Mr Dimbleby has said some of his recommendations went ignored and the plan, being launched on Monday, fails to take enough measures to address the UK’s health problems.
‘I’m very grateful to Henry for all the work he has done. This is about helping to support UK food and farming at a particularly important time,’ Mr Johnson told LBC Radio during a visit to Southern England Farms in Hayle.
On Saturday Boris was seen with Wilf on his shoulders as they visited Seaton beach in Devon, which is in the Tiverton and Honiton constituency where the Tories are trying to defend a 25,000 majority from a Lib Dem challenge.
Images shared by beachgoers in St Ives yesterday afternoon showed the PM taking a quick dip, The Mirror reported.
His wife Carrie had Romy, their second child together, in December last year.
Mr Johnson’s south-west sojourn came as Brits face horror queues at airports and cancelled flights abroad.
EasyJet cancelled 46 flights yesterday and huge queues were spotted again at Bristol, Manchester and Heathrow airports.
Ryanair cabin crews in Spain are also set to go on strike this summer.
Staff at Europe’s largest carrier by passenger numbers are protesting working conditions.
The prime minister visited a vegetable processing plant in Cornwall to launch the food plan
The prime minister celebrated a successful batch of broccoli at the Cornwall facility, Monday
A passenger said Heathrow’s passport queue Monday was the worst they’ve ever encountered
Holidaymakers queue for security at Manchester Airport’s Terminal One on Monday morning
Mr Johnson was pictured behind the wheel of a tractor at a farm in Hayle, Cornwall yesterday
Around 10,000 easyJet passengers were affected today by a total of 46 cancelled flights – with 29 at Gatwick, ten at Belfast, six at Bristol and more at Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Stansted and Liverpool.
Meanwhile a source at Gatwick said that the airport is being hit by a ‘meltdown every night’ due to air traffic control staff shortages – amid concerns the situation could worsen when demand surges again during the summer holidays.
Mr Johnson also unveiled the government’s food strategy during his trip.
The government’s first such plan for 75 years was launched alongside farm workers in Cornwall on Monday.
Mr Johnson said: ‘Our food strategy sets out a blueprint for how we will back farmers, boost British industry and help protect people against the impacts of future economic shocks by safeguarding our food security.
‘Harnessing new technologies and innovation, we will grow and eat more of our own food, unlocking jobs and growing the economy.’
A leaked draft of the strategy, published by The Guardian on Friday, caused a stir when it appeared to reveal calls for a sugar and salt reformulation tax had been snubbed.
The review also urged the Government to ‘nudge’ consumers into changing their meat-eating habits.
But while the draft paper said ministers would ‘support progress on a wide range of issues, including alternative proteins’, it suggested sustainable sources of protein did not have to ‘displace traditional sectors’, pointing to ‘regenerative farming’.
Leon co-founder and government adviser Henry Dimbleby hit out at the plan, telling the newspaper it ‘is not a strategy’.
Mr Dimbleby told BBC Breakfast yesterday morning: ‘Is it the big, bold, unified strategy I think we need? No.
‘Do I think we’re going in the right direction? Yes.’
Contact Us For Promotions, Biography Submission, Edit Or Takedown Of An Article.