Dominic Raab faces mounting pressure to resign after it emerged a phone call requested by his officials to help interpreters flee Afghanistan was not made.
The Foreign Secretary was reportedly “unavailable” when officials in his department suggested he “urgently” call Afghan foreign minister Hanif Atmar on August 13 – two days before the Taliban marched on Kabul – to arrange help for those who supported British troops.
It was initially reported the Afghan Foreign Ministry refused to arrange a call with a junior minister, pushing it back to the next day.
But a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson later said: “Given the rapidly changing situation, it was not possible to arrange a call before the Afghan government collapsed.”
Mr Raab was holidaying on the Greek island of Crete and said to be staying at the five-star “luxury” Amirandes Hotel when the request for the call was made.
The Times also reported that Sir Philip Barton, Matthew Rycroft and David Williams, the respective permanent secretaries of the Foreign Office, Home Office and Ministry of Defence, were on holiday amid the evacuations from Afghanistan.
It is understood the senior officials continued to work on Afghanistan while on leave, with the Whitehall departments running systems where there is another minister or an acting permanent secretary to cover periods of leave.
So did this call even happen? It doesn’t look like it. Either way those cheeky scamps on social media had already set off making some very funny memes.
Bit late mate.— Angela Rayner (@AngelaRayner) August 19, 2021
Unless you’re ringing the Prime Minister to resign we’re not really bothered about your PR photos of you pretending to be on the phone @DominicRaab. Clear your desk and do us all a favour. pic.twitter.com/5Xrxm9XxZn
Hello? I’d like to get a refund on my holiday. Hello? HELLO?! #Raab pic.twitter.com/F4dyWumH5V— HappyToast ★ (@IamHappyToast) August 19, 2021
“No no no, let me stop you right there. I will be expecting a full refund. £40,000. Absolutely no one could’ve foreseen what happened in Kabul. Read the contract? I dipped in and out of it, okay. I negotiated the first Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, you know. Hello. Hello?” pic.twitter.com/mxJGCFlCuB— John Cotter (@John_Cotter) August 19, 2021
‘This Chinese flag has been here for HOW long without me noticing?’ pic.twitter.com/sacgGB2By1— davidallengreen (@davidallengreen) August 20, 2021
https://t.co/K4q0UB9ENn pic.twitter.com/Xm8xve8eu0— Philip Normal (@philipnormal) August 19, 2021
August 19, 2021
https://t.co/zl33odGhj5 pic.twitter.com/KLizXINqkR— Philip Normal (@philipnormal) August 19, 2021
https://t.co/nXcRNqexbz pic.twitter.com/eRI70uPkKZ— Robbie Young (@Robbiie__) August 19, 2021
August 19, 2021
Same energy. pic.twitter.com/CotslnHNpU— David QC (@DavidMuttering) August 19, 2021
… is the message here: he CAN use the phone pic.twitter.com/ATs48Bfm9b— Esther Webber (@estwebber) August 19, 2021
DOMINIC RAAB: MAN OF ACTION— Brian Bilston (@brian_bilston) August 20, 2021
I am phoning
How dare you say
I’m not a man of action.
You say I like:
to loll and lounge
to lie around.
All verbs, I note.
Have you not heard
that verbs are known
as DOING words? pic.twitter.com/tA9cAiqYwI
A propaganda photo of @DominicRaab not making a real phone call to over emphasise the fact that as it turns out he didn’t make a real phone call— Sophism Rules UK 3.5% #FBPE ’43 Group’ (@UkSophism) August 20, 2021
Failure of statecraft #DominicRaab pic.twitter.com/y9yxZpa5iq
Dominic Raab takes decisive action, by pretending to do the thing that he failed to do. pic.twitter.com/17bpxkqNfI— Parody Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson_MP) August 20, 2021
“What do you mean Nando’s has run out of chicken?” pic.twitter.com/pZw27ng8od— •????• (@agirlcalledlina) August 19, 2021
‘Can you put me through to Kabul a week ago?’ pic.twitter.com/QH2if4Njjb— Dave Lee (@davelee1968) August 20, 2021
‘Yes it was a bright blue towel and I left it on the sun lounger, please send it back to me as it’s my favourite towel’ pic.twitter.com/Sn0bkjO8Y3— Liam Thorp (@LiamThorpECHO) August 19, 2021
‘Okay Dom, what we need you to do is pose as if you’re on the phone like a serious politician who wasn’t on holiday & too busy to make a call… no, not like Jack Bauer in Hour 22 placing a takeaway order, have another go’ pic.twitter.com/5ArWK7b0nz— Toby Earle (@TobyonTV) August 19, 2021
"My name? Oh, yes, it's J. R. Hartley." pic.twitter.com/vNY8A3AieA— Michael Glasper (@michaelglasper) August 19, 2021
“Sorry, you’ve got the wrong number. This is the talking cock.” pic.twitter.com/cQsmxKVG5d— Tom Peck (@tompeck) August 19, 2021
I don't know about you guys but I always have a photographer handy when I'm talking on the phone. pic.twitter.com/20kIbiPxPT— joe heenan (@joeheenan) August 20, 2021
Maybe he was on the phone to @robdelaney ? pic.twitter.com/F9NuxkTLMI— Bolt (@Bolt_451) August 20, 2021
August 20, 2021
Related: Resign? Raab under increasing pressure after it emerges call to help interpreters was never made