The prime minister’s four-holiday break

By Ian Dunt

The prime minister will have taken four holidays in less than five months, according to new details from his spokesman.

David Cameron is currently on a two-week break at a £9,700-a-week villa in Tuscany, but he will go on a new holiday a week after his return to work on August 15th.

In addition to a short break in southern Spain in April and another in Ibiza last May, the trip takes the Camerons up to an impressive four holidays in just five months.

The schedule is a distinct break from the habits of Gordon Brown, who insisted on 'stay-cations' when prime minister, especially once the credit crunch meant many families were keeping a tight hold on their wallets.

It is more in line with the habits of Tony Blair, who would often stay with celebrities or foreign leaders in luxurious surroundings while on holiday, prompting considerable press criticism.

Mr Cameron has no plans to visit Mr Berlusconi, who Mr Blair stayed with in 2004, while in Italy. Cherie Blair later claimed the trip was merely to secure Italian support for London's Olympic bid.

The prime minister landed in a spot of bother during his current holiday when it emerged he failed to leave a waitress a tip after stopping for coffee in a cafe.

Later reports suggested she had been forced to ask the Cameron's to carry their own coffee due to under-staffing. Unaware he was the prime minister of Britain, she later apologised.

The Camerons are staying with two other couples in the villa and the prime minister will be paying for his family's share of the price – £5,800 – out of his own pocket.

A small group of civil servants and a security detail travel with the prime minister, although the former do not sleep in the same accommodation.

"He has not got half the office with him but he has got enough to support him on any official business as required," the prime minister's spokesman said.