However, he is reportedly now staying at a luxurious estate in southern Spain owned through a company by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park, a government minister and close friend of the Johnsons. The house, according to reports, sleeps 13 and costs as much as £25,000 a week to rent, although it is unclear on what terms the Johnsons are staying there.
One Tory MP said: “These kinds of rows always happen when the PM is away.”
To head off the concern among “Red Wall” MPs, Lee Rowley, the steel minister, was due to hold talks with some of the caucus members on Sunday.
Andrew Percy, the Tory MP whose Brigg and Goole constituency includes Scunthorpe Steelworks and several chemical plants, said the question of whether industrial firms would be allowed to fail because of soaring energy costs was a test of the Government’s commitment to levelling up.
He told The Telegraph: “If the Government is serious about levelling up then people in the Treasury need to understand that much of the Northern economy is underpinned by heavy industry. It is no good pretending that we can bury our heads in the sand to this problem or pretend in some way that industry just needs to do more itself.
“You can’t level up if you end up levelling heavy industry in the North of England. There appears to be a bias in certain parts of the Treasury against heavy industry – they are seeing it as something of the past. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“This is a very real problem that is in part of the Government’s own making and therefore can only be solved with government intervention.”
Mr Kwarteng also used an interview on Sky News to suggest that people should consider putting on more clothes to keep warm if they had trouble paying to heat their homes.
Asked whether people should wear wear another woolly jumper and pair of socks, he said: “It’s up to people – it’s amazing how different people’s cold thresholds can be. Some people feel comfortable wrapped up in lots of different clothes, others wear relatively little – I think people should be sensible. I think people should do what they feel comfortable with.”
But he added: My job as an energy minister is not to tell people how many layers of clothing they should wear – that’s not really my job.”