Politics

Dominic Raab refuses 11 times to say when he started his holiday in fiery clash


The Foreign Secretary was on a family trip to Crete when Kabul fell to the Taliban last month

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Afghanistan: Dominic Raab refuses to answer holiday questions

Dominic Raab has refused 11 times to reveal when he started his five-star beach holiday as Kabul fell to the Taliban.

In two fiery clashes with MPs today, the Foreign Secretary repeatedly refused to say when he set off for Crete, where he spent time on the beach with his family.

Mr Raab came under fire for staying on the holiday until hours after Kabul fell on Sunday 15 August, only arriving back in London in the early hours of the Monday.

Today he said he had engaged in “all of the COBRA meetings” and “directed the emergency response team directly” but admitted: “With the benefit of hindsight I wouldn’t have gone away at all.”

Questioned by Labour MP Chris Bryant on the Foreign Affairs Committee, he refused three times to answer questions about when his beach break began.








Taliban fighters celebrate the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan
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Image:

STRINGER/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)



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He then refused a further eight times when questioned by SNP MP Stewart Malcolm McDonald.

An exasperated Mr McDonald said: “Why can’t you just answer this question? This is absurd!”

He added: “It’s important people do take holidays but it’s also important to know when to cut them short.”

But Mr Raab grumbled “to be honest with you I think it’s a pretty partisan, political…” before being interrupted again.

Mr Bryant had asked if Mr Raab was already on holiday or not on August 11, when the US “said the Taliban were likely to seize the whole country, it was just a question of how long it was going to take.”





But Mr Raab, refusing to answer the question, said the assessment he saw had stated the Taliban takeover may only have been complete after Christmas.

Complaining he had answered questions about his holiday “continuously”, he told Mr Bryant: “I’m not going to start adding to frankly the fishing expedition beyond the facts I’ve articulated in a fulsome statement.”

Mr Raab said he never considered resigning during the crisis when pressed by Mr Malcolm McDonald.

Asked if he had ever considered stepping down, he said: “No, I considered getting on with the job of what has been a Herculean task of getting 17,000 people out and now focusing on getting out the remaining people that we want to see out via third countries.”

The Foreign Secretary has been the subject of brutal Whitehall briefings in recent days, with reports swirling that he could be sacked in the next Cabinet reshuffle.

Downing Street said on Tuesday that Boris Johnson had full confidence in Mr Raab and there were no plans for a shake-up of the PM’s top team.





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