Dominic Raab denies paddleboarding while Kabul fell, claiming the sea was ‘closed’ – and is duly roasted

Dominic Raab denies paddleboarding while Kabul fell, claiming the sea was ‘closed’ – and is duly roasted

Dominic Raab has been rinsed for defending his controversial Crete holiday, taken in the early days of the Afghanistan crisis, in a rather unusual way.

Speaking to Sky News, the foreign secretary fought his corner and dismissed calls to resign, amid ongoing criticism that he should have returned from his holiday earlier and that not doing so meant he didn’t have a handle on the crisis.

It has been reported that he delegated a vital phone call to an Afghan foreign minister to a junior minister and then it didn’t even end up happening, and that he persuaded Boris Johnson to let him stay in Crete for two days longer than he was advised.

Today, Raab dismissed the claim he asked to stay longer as “speculation” and said he worked hard while on holiday, attending Cobra meetings and holding meetings from his accomodation. He also denied reports by The Times that witnesses said they saw Raab swimming and using a paddleboard on the last day of his holiday.

But whether this is the case or not, his defence somewhat unravelled when he had a completeThe Thick Of It moment and basically said: “I promise I was working, I couldn’t have played in the sea even if I had wanted to. The sea was closed, ask anyone.”

What he really said was: “The stuff about me lounging about on the beach all day is just nonsense. The stuff about me paddleboarding - nonsense. The sea was actually closed, it was a red notice.”

He added: “The pace of the Taliban takeover, I think, even caught the Taliban by surprise.”

And reacting to this, people found it hilarious:

Raab also admitted that “with the benefit of hindsight” he would have come back from holiday sooner. This led to yet more roasting, given Boris Johnson frequently calls opposition leader Keir Starmer “Captain Hindsight” for scrutinising him.

Many people thought Raab was more worthy of the title:

Raab said the government has evacuated more than 9,000 people from Afghanistan since 15 August, including 2,000 people in the last 24 hours.

But responding to a poll of 2,083 by Savanta ComRes for Left Food Forward, which showed that 51 per cent believed the foreign secretary should resign, he said polls suggesting he should resign were not an “accurate barometer” of public opinion – so what are, who knows.

But if Twitter is anything to go by, it seems that Raab is coming across as a bit of a clown.

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