PM on four-day trip with family as Brits remain stranded in Afghanistan

31 August 2021, 14:33 | Updated: 31 August 2021, 16:22

Boris Johnson has been previously criticised for taking a holiday as the Taliban advanced towards Kabul
Boris Johnson has been previously criticised for taking a holiday as the Taliban advanced towards Kabul. Picture: Alamy

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Boris Johnson has left Downing Street for a four-day trip with his family despite Brits remaining stranded in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of forces from Kabul.

No 10 declined to describe the trip as a holiday and insisted the Prime Minister was "continuing to work".

His official spokesman said he was "away for the next two days in the west of England but is continuing to work and will be back in the office in Downing Street on Thursday."

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Mr Johnson left for the West Country on Sunday, around a day after the final British troops left Afghanistan.

The spokesman was asked what he would say to critics who say the PM should not go on holiday during such a crucial period.

An unknown number of British nationals left in Afghanistan are now looking to escape the country by another route - possibly by attempting to get to a neighbouring country.

The spokesman responded: "I would say the Prime Minister is continuing to work."

Pressed whether Mr Johnson is working full time, he responded: "The Prime Minister is continuing to work."

The PM has already faced criticism for going on holiday earlier in August despite warnings that Kabul was about to fall to the Taliban.

He cut his trip to Somerset short but not before he was accused of "dereliction of duty".

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was also criticised for failing to return immediately from a luxury holiday in Crete during the Taliban's rapid advance.

The Labour Party branded the Foreign Secretary's actions "shameful" and called for him to sacked.

Downing Street insisted on Monday that Mr Johnson has "full confidence" in Mr Raab, saying there are no plans for a reshuffle of the Cabinet.

The PM's official spokesman said: "No plans for any reshuffle. The Prime Minister has full confidence in his Foreign Secretary."

Earlier on Monday Mr Raab confirmed there are still UK residents in Afghanistan following the last gasp rescue operation over the last two weeks.

Mr Raab said the number is in the "low hundreds".

He insisted the Government was working with countries neighbouring Afghanistan on a "workable route through" for British nationals to escape.

The Foreign Secretary could not say how many Afghans the RAF was unable to airlift to safety.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace previously estimated that up to 1,100 eligible Afghans who had aided the British mission would not be evacuated in time.