Dominic Raab was quite sure the stable door was closed when he went on holiday

The foreign secretary survived his grilling by a combination of honesty and obfuscation, writes John Rentoul

Wednesday 01 September 2021 18:13
<p>Dominic Raab thought it was ‘unlikely Kabul would fall this year’ </p>

Dominic Raab thought it was ‘unlikely Kabul would fall this year’

If, after the horse had bolted, the stable owner had set up a committee to find out who was responsible for shutting the doors, it would have looked something like Wednesday’s session of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, said everything had looked secure before he went on holiday, and he was quite happy leaving matters in the hands of subordinates and other departments, and anyway he was working the whole time.

Raab showed the same calmness under fire that he had demonstrated when the prime minister was taken into hospital at the height of the coronavirus crisis leaving him in charge of a government that – behind the scenes, and according to Dominic Cummings – was in an advanced state of panic.

Tom Tugendhat, the committee chair, read out a secret internal Foreign Office memo dated 22 July – that is, before the foreign secretary went on holiday – warning of “rapid Taliban advances”. This could lead, the document said, “to the fall of cities, collapse of security forces, Taliban returned to power, mass displacement and significant humanitarian need”.

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