Steerpike Steerpike

Watch: Starmer’s holiday jibe at Raab

The chamber is packed in the Commons today for the first time in more than a year as MPs flock in to debate the collapse of Afghanistan. 

While many hold doubts about the impact such a debate will have – with one backbencher confiding to Steerpike that it was nothing more than a chance for MPs to see their new offices in Richmond House – the exercise has nevertheless created several awkward moments for Boris Johnson and his Cabinet.

Keir Starmer wasted no time in pointing out that Johnson’s last visit to Afghanistan had been as Foreign Secretary three years ago, on the day of a politically inconvenient vote on Heathrow’s third runway. But much of his ire has been reserved too for Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who only returned from a five star beach holiday at the weekend, by which time it was clear the country had fallen. 

Starmer jibed at Raab ‘You cannot coordinate an international response from the beach’ and when Raab hit back with the retort ‘What would you do differently?’ the Leader of the Opposition had the perfect reply ready: ‘I wouldn’t go on holiday when Kabul was falling.’ The fury in Raab’s eyes said it all. 

You can watch the moment below:

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles


Written by

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

Topics in this article


Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in