'Jeremy Hunt would be better Foreign Sec than Raab', shadow foreign minister suggests

19 August 2021, 19:06

By Tim Dodd

Jeremy Hunt would be a better Foreign Secretary than Dominic Raab, shadow foreign minister Stephen Kinnock has suggested while also calling on the minister to resign.

It comes as a former Afghan interpreter hit out at Mr Raab for "failing" to provide protection for the families of those who had helped British troops, following reports he delayed making a phone call while holidaying in Greece.

The Foreign Secretary, who was away in Crete. was reportedly "unavailable" to make a call to his counterpart in Afghanistan about offering support to interpreters.

He was accused of not doing enough to help those trying to flee the Taliban, with Labour calling for Mr Raab to resign.

Eddie Mair asked Labour MP for Aberavon Stephen Kinnock: "To Ben Wallace's argument, that a phone call on friday wouldn't have made a blind bit of difference? What do you say?"

Mr Kinnock replied: "It just doesn't stack up, because the senior aides and civil servants who were advising Dominic Raab would've known about all the different pressures on his time and they nevertheless felt clearly that this was a priority.

"Civil servants and aides, when they know that there's a lot going on, they don't advise that time is spent on a phone call that wouldn't have made any difference.

"The fact that he didn't [make that call] is a profound dereliction of duty.

"He really, I think, is demeaning the post of foreign secretary. If he had an iota of honour he would do the decent thing and resign."

Read more: Defence Secretary defends Dominic Raab as Labour calls for him to be sacked

Eddie asked: "Did Labour on Friday think Kabul was about to fall?"

Mr Kinnock said they could see the "dire" situation and urged a recall of Parliament which "took too long."

When asked who would do a better job as Foreign Secretary, Mr Kinnock replied: "I think if you look at people like Jeremy Hunt, he's been foreign secretary previously, I think he's done a very good job as chair of the Health Select Committee.

"And he strikes me as somebody who has the professionalism to actually get on the top of the issues rather than the staggering complacency that we've seen from the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary to date."

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