'Window of opportunity' as David Cameron leaves Nick Clegg in charge of Number 10
DAVID Cameron was due to begin his summer holiday last night, leaving Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to "hold the fort".
The Prime Minister and his family are expected to spend a few days at his official residence at Chequers before travelling on to Cornwall for the rest of their vacation.
Downing Street stressed that Mr Cameron would still be in charge of running the country while out of London, although the Liberal Democrat leader will cover for him at some events.
"The Prime Minister remains in charge while he is away.
"The Deputy Prime Minister will stand in for him at some meetings and hosting some events," a No 10 spokesman said.
Nevertheless Mr Clegg is expected to use his opportunity to "hold the fort", as he recently put it, to raise his profile at a time when the opinion polls show Lib Dem support slipping.
Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes said it was "a window of opportunity" and Mr Clegg - who has just returned from his own family holiday in Spain - intended to take full advantage.
"He will be out and about around the country," he said.
"He will be reminding people that this is a coalition of two parties and Liberal Democrats absolutely are central to the delivery of a fairer Britain and all the political and electoral and other reforms."
Mr Clegg is due to give a major speech on social mobility tomorrow - the coalition government's 100th day in office.
He intended to use the occasion to unveil former Labour cabinet minister Alan Milburn as the government's new independent reviewer on social mobility, but that announcement was brought forward after details leaked out.
Mr Hughes, meanwhile, played down the fact that - unlike John Prescott and Harriet Harman under the Labour government - Mr Clegg would not be taking up office in No 10 while Mr Cameron and his family were away.
He said: "Nick doesn't have any sense that 'I need to be in No 10'. Nick has his office as Deputy Prime Minister next door.
"That is a perfectly adequate office, he has his staff team there."
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