Raab admits 'in hindsight' he would not have taken holiday amid Afghan crisis

17 August 2021, 09:03

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Nick Ferrari confronts Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on his "questionable" decision to go on a luxury holiday while Afghanistan fell to the Taliban.

"But hindsight is a wonderful thing, which is the luxury of commentators, not politicians who’ve actually got to do the job," the Foreign Secretary snapped back at Nick.

The conversation comes after Labour said it was ‘shameful’ that the Foreign Secretary was on holiday abroad during a major international crisis.

Read more: Hundreds of desperate Afghans cram into US cargo plane as they flee Taliban

Asked specifically about his holiday he replied: "Look, as I said, everyone was caught off guard by the pace and scale of the Taliban takeover.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said Mr Raab was returning to the UK on Sunday and would “personally oversee” the department’s response to the crisis.

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But shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said that his absence during a major international upheaval was unacceptable.

“For the Foreign Secretary to go AWOL during an international crisis of this magnitude is nothing short of shameful,” she said.

Read more: Afghanistan: Desperate crowds cling to US aircraft at Kabul in bid to flee Taliban

But Mr Raab told LBC that the scale or speed of the Taliban takeover was not expected.

"We didn’t predict we would be doing this on this scale because of the Taliban takeover.

"But look, in retrospect of course I wouldn’t have gone on holiday if I had known that would be the case.

Mr Raab said as Foreign Secretary he was fully able to respond to events developing on the ground and even though he was on holiday he was able to take part in Cobra meetings.

"So I was engaged in Cobra, talking to foreign counterparts, directly speaking to the head of our team here in London, I was doing that on an hour by hour basis and of course I left as soon as the situation deteriorated and demanded it."

"Equally after 18 months, two years of a very gruelling demanding schedule I think it’s right people in those positions try and take some leave but we’re always ready, I’m always ready to come back."

Asked if, in hindsight, he would have gone on holiday Mr Raab told Nick Ferrari: "No. But hindsight is a wonderful thing, which is the luxury of commentators not politicians who’ve actually got to do the job."