Boris Johnson is skipping a crisis meeting on the looming life-threatening heatwave to host a party at his luxury Chequers rural retreat.
Ministers and experts are gathering in the Cabinet Office on Saturday afternoon, for a Cobr meeting to prepare for temperatures hitting an unprecedented 40oC on Monday.
But the prime minister will be 30 miles away in Buckinghamshire at a party for friends and family, ahead of being kicked out of his country retreat at the start of September.
It is going ahead after Mr Johnson and his wife Carrie had to abandon an earlier plan to use Chequers for a delayed wedding reception after heavy criticism.
Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said: “Boris Johnson has gone missing in action again. He’s back to his old tricks of skipping important Cobr meetings.
“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.”
A Downing Street source told The Independent it is “not unusual” for other members of the cabinet, in this case Cabinet Office minister Kim Malthouse, to lead Cobr meetings.
Mr Johnson’s absence mirrors the controversy at the start of his premiership when he missed a string of meetings on the Covid pandemic, as he arranged his divorce and penned a book on Shakespeare, it is believed.
Chequers, a Grade one 16th Century mansion and the official country residence of British prime ministers since 1921, boasts an indoor swimming pool and hundreds of acres of gardens.
Formal invitations went out earlier this week to the party, it is believed. A Tory source told Sky News: “It is their farewell bash at Chequers this weekend. Partners and children are all invited.”