Rishi Sunak jets to California - where previous PMs spent their holidays

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Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty are taking their daughters to Disneyland in California (Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty are taking their daughters to Disneyland in California (Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Rishi Sunak jets into the Califonian sunshine today for his "proper" holiday abroad with his family for almost four years.

The mega-rich Prime Minister and wife Akshata Murty - the daughter of one of India's richest businessmen - own a luxury holiday home on America’s West Coast. He'll be taking his two daughters Krishna and Anoushka to Disneyland but he will continue to receive daily updates from No10.

Mr Sunak's lavish sunshine break comes as Brits brace for fresh mortgage misery as the Bank of England was poised to hike interest rates to fresh 15-year highs. He had been expected to take a more modest holiday in Europe but instead opted to jet to the US where the Sunaks own an ocean-view apartment, valued at an estimated £5.5million.

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden will be in charge of the day-to-day running of the Government in his absence. It will be the PM's first holiday abroad with his family since he was appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury in July 2019.

Mr Sunak had "tried" to holiday in the wake of his bruising defeat to Liz Truss in last summer's Tory leadership battle - but was forced to return home just hours later. "He was on a Spanish island for all of about 15 hours and then came back due to the Queen's passing," his press secretary told reporters this week. He will be visiting Disneyland but the Star Wars fan gushed he was "very excited" over a trip to the Galaxy's Edge attraction at the resort.

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Rishi Sunak jets to California - where previous PMs spent their holidaysFormer PM Harold Wilson with his wife Mary on holiday in the Isles of Scilly in 1965 (PA)

Mr Sunak's holiday is a galaxy, far, far away from Harold Wilson's summer holidays. The Labour Prime Minister said he enjoyed the "remoteness" of the Isles of Scilly, where he owned a modest three-bedroom bungalow with his wife, Lady Wilson.

Speaking during his second stint as Prime Minister in 1964, Mr Wilson remarked: "I come here for every holiday when I can get away, because you can get away from everything, not only in distance but also in time. "If you go to some of the uninhabited islands you can imagine yourself almost living in pre-Roman times".

Rishi Sunak jets to California - where previous PMs spent their holidaysFormer Tory PM David Cameron on holiday with his wife, Samantha, in Portugal in 2015 (AFP/Getty Images)

Carefully crafted photographs of holidays - pipe in hand - offered a rare glimpse into the life of a chillaxing Prime Minister away from the duties of No10. More recent occupiers of the role (with the exception of Liz Truss, who was in office for just 49 days) have also had to compete with snaps from the public.

During her years in power the ex-Tory leader Margaret Thatcher, who was said to have disliked spending time away from Downing Street, found time to relax in Cornwall. When visiting she was often spotted on the beach in Constantine Bay, near Padstow, and the surrounding area.

Austerity leader David Cameron also headed to Cornwall with his wife, Samantha, but also spent time on the Spanish island of Lanzarote in 2014, where he had an unfortunate encounter with a jellyfish. Tourists at the time told how he came running from the water, shouting: “Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!’ .

Rishi Sunak jets to California - where previous PMs spent their holidaysGordon Brown on a staycation Trowse, Norfolk, in 2008 (PA)

The following year on a visit to Portugal he was also forced to briefly interrupt his break to be treated for swimmers' ear - an ear infection he picked up while surfing in the Algarve.

Ex-Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair's luxurious holidays and frequent visits to Tuscany were well publicised. In August 2008 he was greeted by the Italian PM Romano Prodi and his wife and told reporters he enjoyed spending time in Italy - where he proposed to his wife, Cherie - due to "the culture, the food, the sun, and because of your Prime Minister".

The former Labour leader also spent a holiday at the Barbados home of Sir Cliff Richard in 2003. And the following year Mr Blair and his family relaxed at the villa of another former Italian leader - Silvio Berlusconi -in Sardinia.

Rishi Sunak jets to California - where previous PMs spent their holidaysTheresa May on a walking holiday in the Swiss Alps with her husband Philip (PA)

Mr Blair's immediate successor, Gordon Brown, who grappled with the financial crash while in No10, often opted for a staycation. In 2007 he spent only four hours in Dorset before returning to London to deal with the foot and mouth crisis and the following year spent time in Norfolk. In 2009 he opted for a "few days" off work at his family home in Kirkcaldy, Scotland.

The former Tory leader Theresa May's enthusiasm for walking holidays with her husband, Philip, often set hares running in Westminster. It was on a 2017 hike in Snowdonia where she took the ill-fate gamble to call a snap general election. Still clinging to power two years later, she left No10 for another walking holiday - this time in Switzerland - forcing her spokesperson to deny she was considering another appeal to the country to end the Brexit deadlock.

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Rishi Sunak jets to California - where previous PMs spent their holidaysTheresa May enjoying some chips in Cornwall in 2017 (PA)

Her successor Boris Johnson's holidays frequently came under the spotlight and the former Tory leader often found himself in hot water. In 2019 he was investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards after failing to promptly declare a £15,000 trip to the Caribbean island of Mustique with his wife, Carrie Johnson. The Commons Standards Commissioner said Mr Johnson had breached the MPs’ Code of Conduct - but MPs on the Standards Committee overruled the commissioner and found he had not breached the code after all.

During the pandemic Mr Johnson was forced to take a staycation in the Scottish Highlands with his now wife Carrie and their young son Wilf. However the holiday was cut short when his location was discovered by the media.

Rishi Sunak jets to California - where previous PMs spent their holidaysBoris Johnson went on a brief staycation in the Scottish Highlands with his now wife Carrie and their son Wilf in 2020 (Internet Unknown)

In 2021, he escaped the mounting cost of living crisis facing Brits on a sunshine getaway to Spain. Mr Johnson was pictured painting at an easel in the sunshine of a villa boasting 600 acres of woodland and two swimming pools in Marbella, which was paid for by the family of the Tory peer Zac Goldsmith in 2021.

And during his final days as Prime Minister, Mr Johnson was spotted in a supermarket in Greece as Mr Sunak and Ms Truss battled to replace him in No10.

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Ashley Cowburn

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