Before the recession, and our subsequent obsession with austerity, British
politicians were happy to be seen enjoying a luxurious holiday is some
far-flung corner of the globe. Tony Blair and his New Labour friends led the
way, wallowing in the company of the world's wealthy and gleefully snapping
up every freebie on offer. Mr Blair's holiday excesses even inspired a
makeover to his waxwork at Madame Tussauds.
Their freebie fanaticism took the Blairs to Florida, for a
holiday at the home of Bee Gee Robin Gibb, to Barbados, where they regularly
housesat for Cliff Richard, and to Sardinia, where they enjoyed the company
of a bandana-wearing Silvio Berlusconi. The orange-hued Italian had just
undergone hair transplant surgery.
Over the years, the Blairs did enjoy the occassional
domestic excursion. Here they are pictured in the Cornish port of
But they are best remembered for their holidays in
more exotic destinations, such as Bali.
The Blairs have also enjoyed regular trips to Tuscany. Access
to this grand, modern mansion near Pisa was provided by Tuscany's then
regional president Vannino Chiti.
By contrast, Gordon Brown's trip to Southwold -
undertaken in 2008 at the behest of his wife Sarah - couldn't have been more
austere. He was greeted by Suffolk residents protesting against the
Government's decision to cut funds used to protect the region from coastal
Mr Brown could hardly look more at ease in this fetching
holiday outfit as he strolls around Whitlingham Country Park in Norfolk.
David Cameron – armed with swimming shorts from a
Boden catalogue – chose Cornwall, where he and his wife Samantha
provided a perfect photo opportunity for the assembled gaggle of reporters
at Harlyn Bay, on the wild north coast.
Mr Cameron's choice may have been inspired by Baroness
Thatcher, who visited the county regularly while in office.
Vladimir Putin caused something of a stir the following
summer while on holiday in Siberia. The manly Russian stripped off for a
spot of fishing before clambering into the saddle.
Mr Putin's predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, was even less
suited to the shirtless look, as seen here in Corfu.
By contrast, Barack Obama looked decidedly svelte last
Christmas when he chose to take a break on Hawaii, the island of his birth.
George Bush preferred to spend his holidays shifting timber
on his ranch in Crawford.
Here, Bill Clinton is pictured sailing around Martha's
Vineyard with his wife Hilary and the late broadcaster Walter Cronkite,
before he turns on the charm in the US Virgin Islands.
Nicholas Sarkozy and his wife Carla enjoy a dip at Le Cap
Nègre on the Côte d'Azur. Is Mr Sarkozy breathing in?
Angela Merkel appears rather less thrilled outside a
souvenir shop on the Italian island of Ischia.