Dominic Raab defends delayed return from holiday amid fall of Kabul

Dominic Raab defends delayed return from holiday amid fall of Kabul

08/25/2021

‘The sea was closed’: Dominic Raab denies he was ‘lounging around on the beach’ on Crete holiday as Kabul fell because it was shut due to a ‘red notice’ as he insists he only checked in on his family ‘episodically’ while he worked from hotel room

  • Dominic Raab returned to UK from family holiday in Crete on Sunday August 15 
  • Mr Raab today defended his decision not to come back sooner amid fall of Kabul
  • He said pace of fall of the city ‘came as a surprise to everyone around the world’

Dominic Raab today denied he was ‘lounging around on the beach’ while Kabul fell as he defended his delayed return to the UK from a luxury break at a five-star resort in Crete.  

The Foreign Secretary arrived home on the evening of Sunday August 15 after he opted to work remotely as the situation in Afghanistan deteriorated. 

Mr Raab said he was ‘engaged from a hotel room, my family was on the beach, not me’ and that he ‘checked in on them episodically’. 

The Tory frontbencher said ‘the stuff about me being lounging around on the beach all day is just nonsense’ as he insisted the ‘sea was actually closed, it was a red notice’.      

Mr Raab remains under pressure to quit over his handling of the crisis and this morning he admitted that ‘with the benefit of hindsight I wouldn’t have gone away’.  

Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, today denied he was ‘lounging around on the beach’ while Kabul fell

The Foreign Secretary spoke to Boris Johnson about the situation in Afghanistan on Friday August 13, just 48 hours before the Taliban completed its takeover of Kabul.  

Mr Raab told Sky News that ‘the scale and pace of the fall of Kabul came as a surprise to everyone around the world’ and ‘even the Taliban were surprised’.   

Asked if he was ordered by Mr Johnson to return to the UK on the Friday or if he had lobbied to work remotely, Mr Raab replied: ‘All of those claims and suggestions… we discussed the matter, I agreed to come back on Sunday, I am not going to add further to the speculation around that. 

‘But the idea, some of the reporting, some of the assertions you have just put to me, are just not true. 

‘We were focused overwhelmingly on securing the airport, making sure, and I was engaged in meetings, the stuff about me being lounging around on the beach all day is just nonsense. 

‘There is stuff about me paddle boarding. Nonsense. The sea was actually closed, it was a red notice.’

Mr Raab later told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I’m not going to add any more to the speculation in the media. 

‘What I can tell you is that from that period I was engaged from a hotel room, my family was on the beach, not me. 

‘I checked in on them episodically, but the idea that I was lounging on the beach is just nonsense.’

A poll conducted by Savanta ComRes over the weekend on behalf of Left Foot Forward found 51 per cent of people believe Mr Raab should resign, with just 24 per cent disagreeing.  

Mr Raab has insisted that he will not step down and the Prime Minister has refused to sack him. However, he is widely expected to be removed in the next Cabinet reshuffle. 

Responding to the poll, the Foreign Secretary said: ‘Self-selecting reader polls in newspapers I am afraid are not a particularly accurate barometer.’

He added: ‘Of course with the benefit of hindsight I wouldn’t have gone away but that is a luxury of commentators, not politicians.’  

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