The PM has ‘full confidence’ in his foreign secretary – but that doesn’t mean accountability is dead

John Rentoul argues that ministerial resignations are as rare (or frequent) as they have always been

Tuesday 31 August 2021 16:35
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<p>Dominic Raab, explaining why problems are nothing to do with him </p>

Dominic Raab, explaining why problems are nothing to do with him

People say social media encourages overheated and polarised rhetoric. Indeed, “social warming” is the thesis of a book by Charles Arthur, a former colleague of ours at The Independent. But talk radio has been just as capable of intemperate opinionising since long before the internet, and I took part in a discussion this week that illustrated this well.

The assertion being debated was that political accountability is a thing of the past, and that ministers no longer resign when they have done something wrong as they did in the Good Old Days, when “honourable” was an adjective applied to MPs, not an empty form of address.

Exhibit A held up for public ridicule was Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary who was accused of being useless and presiding over the failure of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. The foreign secretary did not sound comfortable in a round of interviews this morning, which seemed to have a defensive purpose in explaining why some of the problems of the evacuation were the responsibility of the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office.

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