Dominic Raab rejects calls to quit after ‘failing to make urgent Afghanistan call while on holiday’

The foreign secretary has faced criticism for remaining on holiday as Kabul fell to the Taliban.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab has been accused of putting interpreters’ lives at risk in Afghanistan by failing to make a call to get them evacuated from the country.

Raab has rejected calls to quit as foreign secretary after opposition leaders demanded he be sacked for failing to make a call to help translators flee while on holiday.

Sign up to our NationalWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

We want to hear from you: let us know what you think about this story and be part of the debate in our comments section below

At a glance: 5 key points

  • The foreign secretary has been widely criticised for remaining on holiday in Crete as Kabul fell to the Taliban last weekend, with Leader of the Opposition Sir Keir Starmer questioning his actions in Parliament on Wednesday (August 18). 
  • It is now being reported in The Daily Mail that help for Afghan interpreters who supported British troops was delayed due to Raab’s failure to make a call aiding their evacuation while on holiday.
  • The Daily Mail said Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office officials suggested Mr Raab call Afghan foreign minister Hanif Atmar on Friday – two days before the Taliban marched on Kabul – only for him to be “unavailable” while on holiday.
  • The paper claimed the Afghan foreign ministry then refused to arrange a call with a junior minister, pushing it back to the next day.
  • A government spokesperson said that Raab was engaged on other calls and, in this instance, delegated the task to a junior minister.

What’s been said

The Foreign Office said: “The Foreign Secretary was engaged on a range of other calls and this one was delegated to another minister.”

Nick Thomas-Symonds, Labour’s shadow home secretary, said on Twitter Mr Raab’s reported actions were a “dereliction of duty”.

He added: “Failing to make a call has put the lives of brave interpreters at risk, after they served so bravely with our military. Utterly shameful.”

Background

Both the Prime Minister and Raab have come under fire in recent days for being on holiday as the Taliban advanced on Kabul.

The issue came up in a Commons debate on Wednesday as Parliament was recalled to debate the Afghanistan situation.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer criticised the pair, telling MPs: “You cannot co-ordinate an international response from the beach.”

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.