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Foreign Secretary should resign over missed phone call, opposition say

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab should be sacked from his position because of his “disastrous” handling of the military withdrawal from Afghanistan, opposition parties have said.

Labour and the SNP have both called on Mr Raab to be removed from his position following further revelations regarding his holiday in Crete while Afghanistan descended into chaos.

The foreign secretary has been heavily criticised for not interrupting his “luxury” holiday to make a call to help translators flee Afghanistan, as reported in the Daily Mail.

It is understood Mr Raab was reportedly “unavailable” when officials in his department suggested he “urgently” call Afghan foreign minister Hanif Atmar on Friday – two days before the Taliban marched on Kabul – in order to arrange help for those who supported British troops.

‘Resign’

SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP said: “Tory ministers cannot wash their hands of responsibility for this foreign policy disaster.

“Dominic Raab has failed to perform his basic duties as Foreign Secretary, and he has put people’s lives at risk. His position is completely untenable and he must resign, or be sacked.”

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford .

Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy accused Mr Raab of “yet another catastrophic failure of judgment”.

Lisa Nandy MP.

She said: “If Dominic Raab doesn’t have the decency to resign, the Prime Minister must show a shred of leadership and sack him.”

Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokeswoman Layla Moran added: “Dominic Raab must resign today. If he does not, the Prime Minister should finally show some leadership, and sack him.

“Right now, there are interpreters across Afghanistan who are surrounded by the Taliban and fearing the worst. All the Foreign Secretary had to do was leave the beach and pick up the phone. He did not.

“He has shamed Britain and is no longer fit to represent our country.”

‘Empathy’

Mr Raab was holidaying on the Greek island of Crete and said to be staying at the Amirandes Hotel.

The five-star venue describes itself as a “boutique resort” which is “styled after the sprawling palaces of the Minoan kings and Venetian nobles who once ruled Crete” and offers “the easy elegance of true European luxury”.

A former translator, a British citizen who gave his name as Rafi, 35, accused Mr Raab of “failing” to provide protection for the families of interpreters in Afghanistan.

Taliban fighters patrol in Wazir Akbar Khan neighbourhood in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan.

He told the PA news agency: “If he didn’t make the call, I’m shocked. How could somebody do something like that in this chaotic situation?

“The interpreters and their families could be killed at any time.”

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine Conservative MP Andrew Bowie defended the government and prime minister’s handling of the crisis.

He also accused President Joe Biden and the USA of a lack of “empathy”.

Speaking to BBC Scotland, he said: “The situation is the Americans took the decision to withdraw forces from Afghanistan.

“Without America, we were left with no other option to withdraw also.

“We have heard the prime minister and foreign secretary show great empathy and great feeling for the situation the Afghan people find themselves in.

“Not in the least we also feel for those veterans who served in Afghanistan.

“We now look back over 20 years of sacrifice they made to rebuild that country and how gut wrenching it must be for them to watch what’s going on.

“Of course the prime minister showed empathy.”

Andrew Bowie, left, listens to former prime minister Theresa May during Wedensday’s debate on Afghanistan.

He added: “I am not going to comment on uncorroborated reports in the newspapers, all I know is the whole Foreign Commonwealth development office is working extremely hard.

“They are being led by incredibly dedicated ministers doing everything they can to get British nationals out of Kabul and the Afghans who helped us to safety.”

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