Politics on hold as party leaders head to the Med

Britain's political leaders are jetting off to the Mediterranean for their summer holidays this week.

David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg are taking advantage of the post-Olympics good mood to put partisanship on standby with getaways to the heat of the Med.

Miliband is heading off for a fortnight on a Greek island with his wife Justine Thornton and their two sons, while Clegg is visiting the in-laws at the Spanish family home of his wife Miriam Gonzalez Durantez. Cameron is also thought to be holidaying somewhere in Spain.

"I am a great believer that politicians are human beings and they need to have holidays," he said yesterday.

"I don't call it annual leave, I call it a holiday and I am looking forward to having a holiday.

"If you don't think politicians ought to have holidays I think you need to have a serious think. But I'll be back for the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games."

Cameron will return to London for two days of work next week, before heading to Cornwall after the Paralympics begins on August 29th.

In his absence foreign secretary William Hague will be the most senior minister in London.

He is also first secretary of state, a largely ceremonial title which serves to give him supremacy over chancellor George Osborne.

Officials are seeking to avoid claims of superiority, however, by ensuring that the 'senior minister' position is rotated.

Home secretary Theresa May is expected to take over the reins next week when Hague takes a holiday of his own.

"The system this year is no different to system in previous years, and that is that we have a rota system," the prime minister's spokesman explained.

No 10 conceded that this summer was unusual because of the large number of Cabinet meetings triggered by the Olympics, however. Meetings will resume from next week in the lead-up to the Paralympics.