Watch: the four most awkward moments from Raab’s evidence

Watch: the four most awkward moments from Raab's evidence
Parliament TV
Text settings

Fresh from his Crete holiday, Dominic Raab appeared at the Foreign Affairs Committee looking tense and awkward. The Foreign Secretary has been dragged to an extraordinary meeting of the panel specially convened in spite of the parliamentary recess to answer questions about the collapse of Afghanistan and rushed evacuation of the Western powers.

Raab's session overstretched to almost two hours and saw a range of hostile questions from right across the House. A glowering Tom Tugendhat ambushed the embattled minister with his department's principle risks report from July 21 warning of collapse of Afghanistan while a deluge of questions about the Crete holiday were met by Raab's insistence that such queries were just a 'fishing expedition.' And Mr S thought that 'the beach was closed' on Raab's seaside sojourn...

Below is Steerpike's guide to the four most awkward moments from Raab's Kabul cross-examination.

Grilled over his holiday

One of many variations on the theme of Raab's holiday was one from SNP defence spokesman Stewart McDonald who pointed out the discrepancies on leave between military personnel and Foreign Office staff. McDonald said that all military leave had been cancelled from July 23, and asked if the same policy had been brought in at the Foreign Office. Raab replied that there had been no such policy, but said that his department had devised a 'rota system' as they did not know how long the situation would continue. Hmmm.

Queen portrait questions

Under questioning by his bête noire Tugendhat, Raab suggested that the portrait of the Queen at the Kabul embassy should have been destroyed to avoid it being taken by the Taliban for propaganda reasons.

Raab clashes with Coyle

Neil Coyle, Bermondsey's answer to Malcolm Tucker, took full advantage of his moment in the spotlight, pressing the Foreign Secretary as to whether Afghan guards outside the British embassy had been evacuated to the UK. Raab's response was somewhere between a Catholic priest and an Alan Partridge creation, repeatedly intoning 'Neil, Neil, Neil' as the Labour MP pressed on.

Raab dismisses Webbe

Around three quarters of the way through his grilling, Raab's patience was clearly running thin. Faced with the intellectual firepower of Claudia Webbe, the Foreign Secretary decided to abandon the charm element of his charm offensive, dismissing comparisons to the French evacuation and then pointing out, not unfairly, the USSR had no small role in causing Afghanistan's woes.

Written bySteerpike

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 articlePoliticsdominic raabafghanistan