BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker denies being ‘nasty and unpleasant’ to Dominic Raab during a tense holiday row this morning on live TV.
It comes as the foreign secretary branded reports of him paddleboarding on holiday while Kabul fell as “nonsense”, saying he was working and the sea was actually “closed”.
Raab also said that, with the benefit of hindsight, he would not have gone away on holiday at that time.
He faced strong criticism for not returning from Crete when the situation in Afghanistan began to deteriorate and the Taliban took control of Kabul.
Speaking to Sky News on Wednesday, Mr Raab said: “The stuff about me being lounging around on the beach all day is just nonsense. The stuff about me paddleboarding – nonsense. The sea was actually closed, it was a red notice.”
And questioned on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about claims that his department asked him to return home on Friday August 13, Mr Raab said: “I was not asked by my officials. I was not directed home.”
He went on: “I’m not going to add any more to the speculation in the media. What I can tell you is that from that period I was engaged from a hotel room, my family was on the beach, not me. I checked in on them episodically, but the idea that I was lounging on the beach is just nonsense.”
But Raab had seen nothing yet.
Coming face-to-face with Dan Walker he really felt the heat (pun intended) as he was grilled on the headline for troops being withdrawn from Afghanistan.
Dan Walker – Is the deadline midnight August 30th going into the 31st or midnight on the 31st August going into the 1st of Sept.. do you know when it is— Haggis_UK ?? ?? (@Haggis_UK) August 25, 2021
Dominic Raab – It’s the end of August
Dan Walker – it would be helpful if you knew this#BBCBreakfast pic.twitter.com/sifNFDdH47
Walker said an “overwhelming” number of viewers wanted to ask Mr Raab: “Did you have a nice holiday?”
“The reason for that Mr Raab is that while the Taliban were marching on Kabul, our British troops under pressure, the vision that many people had and many people have this morning is that you were on a beach in Crete and you didn’t come home for another two days,” he explained.
The BBC man pushed Raab over claims Boris Johnson requested he returned home, but he persuaded the PM to allow him to stay for a further two nights.
The interview has been described as “nasty” and “unpleasant” by viewers, but Walker was in no mood to relent.
Posting on Twitter, he said: “For those accusing me of being ‘nasty’ & ‘unpleasant’ to @DominicRaab… I simply asked the Foreign Secretary for facts: when? why? & where? are the journalistic basics.
“If that is ‘nasty’ & ‘unpleasant’ then I’m not sure you’ve watched enough telly.”
Here’s the best of the reactions:
Perhaps next time you can ask him:— John Nevill (@cortina) August 25, 2021
1. why a senior minister needs hindsight to know when to be in the office
2. why, given deal was agreed in Feb 2020, he caught out at all
3. why, given withdrawal started in May, he booked a holiday during withdrawal period
Going to the dentist is nasty and unpleasant and seeing as trying to get the truth out of a politician is like pulling teeth then yes I guess you were nasty and unpleasant! Don’t change Dan. ?— Karl Buckley (@karlosbusman) August 25, 2021
Well done Dan for doing what a journalist should do: ask for the facts and the truth.— Glenn Cooney ☘️??? (@glenncooney) August 25, 2021
A journalist’s job is to ask the relevant questions no matter how uncomfortable or unpopular they seem. We need to see more of this.— JGLowe (@CheekyWind) August 25, 2021
Carry on Dan ?
It was a brilliant interview. Ignore the haters, I though you were great ??— Erin Mckenzie ? (@Jedi_Magpie_11) August 25, 2021