Dominic Raab has rejected calls to quit as Foreign Secretary after opposition leaders demanded he be sacked for failing to make a call to help translators flee Afghanistan.
The Foreign Secretary was reportedly “unavailable” when officials in his department suggested he “urgently” call Afghan foreign minister Hanif Atmar on Friday – two days before the Taliban marched on Kabul – in order to arrange help for those who supported British troops.
Mr Raab was holidaying on the Greek island of Crete and said to be staying at the Amirandes Hotel.
The five-star venue describes itself as a “boutique resort” which is “styled after the sprawling palaces of the Minoan kings and Venetian nobles who once ruled Crete” and offers “the easy elegance of true European luxury”.
The Daily Mail added the Afghan foreign ministry then refused to arrange a call with a junior minister, pushing it back to the next day.
Labour, the SNP, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru called for Mr Raab to either quit or be sacked by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
They accused him of failing to “perform his basic duties” and argued he is “no longer fit” to represent the country.
Mr Raab, asked if he was going to resign as Foreign Secretary, told reporters in Downing Street: “No.”
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace earlier argued the suggested phone call from Mr Raab to his Afghan counterpart would not have made “any difference whatsoever” given the Afghan government was “melting away quicker than ice”.
But Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, writing on Twitter, said: “Who wouldn’t make a phone call if they were told it could save somebody’s life?”
Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy accused Mr Raab of “yet another catastrophic failure of judgment”.
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She said: “If Dominic Raab doesn’t have the decency to resign, the Prime Minister must show a shred of leadership and sack him.”
Conservative Lord Naseby highlighted the decision of Lord Carrington to resign as foreign secretary over the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands in 1982, and said Mr Raab should “think about” what has happened with Afghanistan.
Lord Naseby, a former deputy speaker in the Commons who served as an MP for 23 years, recalled a meeting between Lord Carrington and Conservative MPs over the invasion.
He told the PA news agency: “He made a statement and not long after he decided on balance he had to resign. Now that’s for Raab to think about. It all comes down to ministerial responsibility. That’s for him (Mr Raab) to think about.”
Lord Naseby stressed he was not asking Mr Raab to resign, noting: “The Foreign Secretary needs to think about these things. The decision is for him, not anyone else.”
Liberal Democrat 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.
“Right now, there are interpreters across Afghanistan who are surrounded by the Taliban and fearing the worst. All the Foreign Secretary had to do was leave the beach and pick up the phone. He did not.
“He has shamed Britain and is no longer fit to represent our country.”
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford added: “Dominic Raab has failed to perform his basic duties as Foreign Secretary and he has put people’s lives at risk. His position is completely untenable and he must resign, or be sacked.