EMBATTLED Dominic Raab today refused growing pressure to quit following furious accusations he declined an urgent call with Afghanistan during his beach holiday.
The Foreign Secretary has come under fire for not ringing his counterpart in Kabul while enjoying a family break in sun-kissed Crete last Friday.
Dominic Raab leaves the Foreign Office this morning[/caption]
Evacuation flights from Kabul touch down at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire[/caption]
Instead he palmed the call off to junior minister Zac Goldsmith – who was reportedly snubbed by Afghan foreign boss Hanif Atmar because he was not of equal rank.
British officials had urged Mr Raab to personally pick up the phone to plan the evacuation of interpreters, according to the Daily Mail.
Labour has raised “serious questions” about why the Cabinet Minister – Boris’s second in command – is still in post.
Sir Keir Starmer said: “Who wouldn’t make a phone call if they were told it could save somebody’s life?”
Asked if he was going to resign on his way into No10, a weary-looking Mr Raab bluntly replied: “No.”
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace publicly threw a protective arm around his beleaguered Tory colleague, insisting the call wouldn’t have mattered a jot.
He told LBC: “I don’t know about his phone call sheet. We all have long ones. What I will tell you is that Friday, phone calls to a rapidly disappearing Afghan Government would have not made a blind bit of difference.”
The Western-backed Government in Kabul was quickly swept away by the Taliban last week – and its President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country.
Mr Wallace said everyone’s efforts were focused on keeping the airport open so evacuations could start.
Opposition MPs taunted the Foreign Sec about his holiday during a fiery Commons debate yesterday.
Phone calls to a rapidly disappearing Afghan Government would have not made a blind bit of difference
Earlier this week Mr Raab said he had been in constant contact with officials during his break on the Greek isle.
He added: “Everyone has been surprised by the scale and the speed at which the Taliban have taken over in Afghanistan.”
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Responding to the latest charges the Foreign Office said: “The Foreign Secretary was engaged on a range of other calls and this one was delegated to another minister.”
Lib Dem foreign affairs spokeswoman Layla Moran said: “”Dominic Raab must resign today. If he does not, the Prime Minister should finally show some leadership, and sack him.”
Labour’s shadow foreign sec Lisa Nandy said: “The Foreign Secretary should be ashamed and the Prime Minister has serious questions to answer over why he remains in the job.”
Sir Keir Starmer said: “Who wouldn’t make a phone call if they were told it could save somebody’s life?”[/caption]