Where's Boris? PM skips second emergency heatwave Cobra meeting 'to host Chequers party'

17 July 2022, 00:30 | Updated: 17 July 2022, 04:16

Boris is believed to have been at Chequers instead of the Cobra meetings
Boris is believed to have been at Chequers instead of the Cobra meetings. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Boris Johnson is "missing in action" again after skipping two Cobra meetings in two days.

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Ministers gathered in the Cabinet Office on Saturday afternoon for a second emergency Cobra meeting ahead of the impending heatwave.

But the Prime Minister was instead at Chequers - his country retreat in Buckinghamshire - preparing to hold a leaving do of his own for friends and family, it is understood.

It comes after Mr Johnson and his wife were forced to drop plans to hold a wedding reception at Chequers following a fierce backlash.

Read more: Brits urged to 'look out for family and friends' as life-threatening 40C red alert looms

Read more: Heat warnings 'the erosion of our freedoms', Tory MP fumes

Labour criticised Mr Johnson's absence, with deputy leader Angela Rayner saying: "Boris Johnson has gone missing in action again. He's back to his old tricks of skipping important Cobra meetings.

"Where's the plan for the delivery of essential services and how people will be kept safe at work, on transport, in schools, hospitals and care homes?

"The public will have no confidence in this zombie Conservative government responding swiftly and decisively to this national emergency as this disgraced Prime Minister prepares to party while Britain boils."

She later tweeted: "If he still can’t take the responsibility of the job, he should leave right now. #COBRA"

However, Mr Malthouse defended the caretaker PM's absence, saying: "It's literally my job to chair these meetings."

He explained: "It is our job to make sure we are ready for an emergency such as this and then I report to the Prime Minister - which I've done already - on the preparations that we are making."

A Downing Street source told the Independent that it was "not unusual" for other members of the Cabinet to lead Cobra meetings.