Dominic raab

Sunday shows roundup: No. 10 won’t set an ‘arbitrary target’ for lifting lockdown

With the vaccine rollout exceeding expectations, the government now faces pressure from its own side of the House to lift the current lockdown as fast as possible. The Covid Recovery Group, chaired by the former chief whip Mark Harper, has sent a letter to the PM which has been endorsed by 63 MPs calling for all restrictions to be lifted after the nine designated vulnerable groups have received their vaccines – which is forecast for the end of April. Appearing on Sophy Ridge on Sunday, foreign secretary Dominic Raab set out the government’s position: DR: I don’t think you can set an arbitrary target, and not be evidence led… which is

Sunday shows round-up: Brexit talks ‘in last week or so’, says Raab

Dominic Raab – ‘We want to come out’ and ‘stay out’ of lockdown This week, the government will put its tiered system of coronavirus restrictions to a vote in the Commons. A sizeable rebellion is anticipated from the government’s own MPs, who have raised concerns about the effect on the economy, as well as personal liberty and mental health. The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab sought to ease some of their fears: DR: We want to come out of national lockdown and stay out of it. There is hope… We are starting with a more restrictive approach than previously… but that allows us to ease up when we are confident that

Sunday shows round-up: Raab ‘excited’ to work with Biden

Dominic Raab – ‘I’m excited’ about working with President Biden On the morning after Joe Biden was declared President-elect, the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab offered his congratulations to Mr Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris. Raab told Sophy Ridge that the Biden administration would find plenty of common ground with Boris Johnson’s government: DR: The things that President-elect Biden wants to achieve internationally… not just security and counter-terrorism in the Middle East, but coronavirus and returning to the Paris Climate Agreement – these are all things which… we’ll have a huge amount to co-operate on and I’m excited about working with the new administration. We’ve got ‘full faith’ in

Sunday shows round-up: This week is ‘moment of reckoning’ for EU trade deal

Dominic Raab – This week is ‘the moment of reckoning’ for EU deal The Sunday interview shows return this week to general fanfare across the nation… The first government guest to join Sophy Ridge was the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who was asked about the prospect of the UK reaching a satisfactory trade deal with the EU by the end of the year. James Forsyth has written this week about how Downing Street puts the likelihood of a deal down to 30 to 40 per cent, but Raab professed a greater optimism that an agreement could be reached, citing the thorny subject of fisheries as one of the few remaining

Sunday shows round-up: Transport Secretary’s Spanish self-isolation shows ‘risk for everyone’

Dominic Raab – ‘Swift decisive action’ needed on new quarantine rules The government updated its rules on foreign travel yesterday so that anybody returning to the UK from Spain has to self-isolate for 14 days. The new guidance reflects the discovery of 971 new coronavirus cases in Spain in one day, prompting fears of a second wave in the country. Sophy Ridge interviewed the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and asked him to justify the rapid imposition of the new quarantine guidance: SR: Why was the decision taken with so little notice? DR: …We took the decision as swiftly as we could. We can’t make apologies for doing so. We must

China’s ambassador has no answer to the treatment of Uighur Muslims

When Liu Xiaoming agreed to come on the Andrew Marr show, he ought to have expected that – as the Chinese ambassador – he’d be asked about Uighur Muslims. He doubtless came on to bemoan the Huawei decision. But as anyone with a social media account could have told him, video footage of people with their heads shaved, blindfolded, kneeling, handcuffed, being forced on to trains have been circulating widely for days now. It was fairly obvious that the subject would come up. Marr didn’t just raise the topic, he screened the video. The ambassador seemed flummoxed. It made for some very striking television: The ‘re-education’ camps are understood to detain about

Who is in charge of the government?

Boris Johnson is still officially recuperating from coronavirus at Chequers and is ‘not doing government work’, according to No. 10. But he is starting to do some activities that sound distinctly work-related.  He will be having an audience with the Queen over the phone this week, and will also be phoning President Trump on Tuesday to thank him for his wishes when he was in the hospital and to get an update on the G7 response to the crisis. But the Downing Street line remains that ‘he isn’t doing government work but he is getting updates on the situation’. In Westminster, it’s almost as easy to find someone else to

When will the public accept an end to the lockdown?

In the weeks leading up to Boris Johnson announcing lockdown measures, ministers and aides wondered how in the world you could enforce a lockdown like the one seen in authoritarian China in a liberal democracy such as the UK. But following Dominic Raab confirmation on Thursday that there will be another three weeks of lockdown, public resistance is the least of ministers’ concerns. The biggest surprise about the lockdown within government has been the level of public support for it. Polling has repeatedly shown that rather than fighting the social distancing measures, Britons are embracing them more obediently than anyone in might have dared imagine. A YouGov poll prior to Raab’s announcement found

Britain needs Boris, the extraordinary man I’ve known for 35 years

As I write, Boris Johnson is in intensive care at St Thomas’ Hospital, battling with coronavirus. For someone with such an unwavering belief in his own destiny, this must be profoundly difficult. He is a man who’s beaten the odds over and over: to become mayor of London in a Labour city, to lead the Leave campaign to victory in the teeth of overwhelming opposition, to become prime minister in spite of all his personal baggage, and then to win the largest Conservative majority since 1987. Here is a man who cannot stare into the jaws of defeat without grabbing hold of victory with both hands. Yet the odds of

James Forsyth

Dominic Raab is the constitutional choice, but a complicated one

We have never had a moment like this before in our history: a time when the Prime Minister is, in the most personal way possible, fighting the very problem his government is trying to tackle. After Boris Johnson tested positive for coronavirus, he insisted that he would keep leading the government from self-isolation in Downing Street. His determination was influenced by the fact that No. 10 believed that parts of government needed pushing to make sure they delivered; there is frustration in Downing Street about the speed of progress in testing, for instance. But those in virtual meetings with him did worry that he was often coughing, and his performance

Raab stands in for Boris – but he can’t take the biggest decision of all

Dominic Raab is a lawyer, not a doctor, by temperament as well as training. He is not a politician who talks about his feelings much. This made it all the more striking to hear him talking about Boris Johnson as a ‘friend’, and his hopes for his recovery. The reassuring news is that Boris Johnson’s condition is stable and he hasn’t required a ventilator. Raab faced a barrage of questions about how him deputising for Boris Johnson will actually work Understandably, Raab faced a barrage of questions about how him deputising for Boris Johnson will actually work. Raab emphasised Cabinet collective responsibility and how they were implementing the plans that

Isabel Hardman

Boris Johnson ‘stable’ and not on a ventilator, No. 10 says

Boris Johnson has been stable overnight and is breathing without mechanical assistance, his official spokesman said this afternoon. He has received standard oxygen treatment and ‘remains in good spirits’. He does not have pneumonia. There have been questions over whether Downing Street had been overly reticent about quite how unwell the Prime Minister has been, and whether it was right that the full picture wasn’t on offer. The spokesman insisted that No. 10 has been ‘fully frank’ about the Prime Minister’s condition throughout and that the change yesterday from ‘in hospital as a precaution’ to Johnson being moved to intensive care was because his symptoms worsened yesterday afternoon. Raab will

Dominic Raab has to handle a stand-off with Iran and his own civil servants

It’s not an easy time to become Foreign Secretary, as Dominic Raab is about to find out. There is, of course, the crisis in relations with Iran, which threatens to escalate further in the coming days. Raab is taking over shortly after Jeremy Hunt announced a European-led mission to protect shipping in the Gulf, which may not necessarily accord with Boris Johnson’s own foreign policy instincts. One of the reasons that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was able to seize the British-flagged tanker was that Britain had turned down the US’s suggestion of co-operation to protect boats, for fear of appearing too cosy with Donald Trump. Johnson has no such qualms

Raab’s departure is good news for Boris

The results of the second ballot are in and it’s Dominic Raab who has been knocked out of the race. Boris Johnson cemented his lead going from 114 votes to 126. Brexiteer Raab meanwhile failed to win the 33 votes required – only mustering 30. As for the Cabinet candidates, there is still little difference in support between the top candidates. Rory Stewart managed the largest increase going from 19 votes in the first round to 37: Michal Gove: 41 Jeremy Hunt: 46 Sajid Javid: 33 Boris Johnson: 126 Dominic Raab: 30 Rory Stewart: 37 So, what does the result mean for the overall contest? Johnson continues to look unassailable.

Dominic Raab’s brazen Brexit pitch

Dominic Raab’s launch was just downstairs from the event that Matt Hancock held, and rather more serious, too. He was able to underline his parliamentary support, filling the front row of his audience with MPs who cheered loudly at appropriate moments. He was introduced by Maria Miller, who joked that she hoped to persuade him to become a feminist and claimed that both had come from relatively humble backgrounds. Raab’s campaign team had clearly decided that it was best to be brazen about something that is considered by some as a weakness. The candidate’s pitch was as someone who is sufficiently brazen to achieve the kind of Brexit he and

How will Raab’s prorogue comments play out with Tory MPs?

To prorogue or not to prorogue? That’s the question dividing the Brexiteer candidates today following the One Nation conservative hustings. After Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom and Sajid Javid on Tuesday all ruled out proroguing Parliament in order to achieve a no deal Brexit in the event that MPs tried to block one, Dominic Raab used his appearance on Wednesday night to tell a group of MPs that he would not rule out suspending Parliament to bring about the UK’s exit from the EU – with or without a deal. Proroguing Parliament is what happens at the end of every parliamentary session. In terms of Brexit, the theory goes that a way

Tory leadership candidates start frenzied final push for support

With just a few days to go until nominations close in the Tory leadership contest, candidates are busy trying to shore up support in the parliamentary party. There are five – Sam Gyimah, Andrea Leadsom, Rory Stewart, Mark Harper and Esther McVey – who currently don’t have sufficient nominations to make it onto the ballot paper. Harper tried to get some attention by asking a question about the Peterborough by-election at today’s Prime Minister’s Questions, while Gyimah has been doing the rounds in Portcullis House as MPs have trundled through. Meanwhile I understand that Rory Stewart has cancelled all his media appearances in order to hold as many meetings as

Why I’m pleased that Dominic Raab isn’t a feminist

Dominic Raab is not a feminist. That is the confession the Tory leadership hopeful makes in an interview in this week’s Spectator. Screams, gasps and 240 character rants have swept the internet since. Who in their right mind would reject the notion of treating men and women equally? Of course, Raab didn’t do that. He describes himself as “someone who is passionate about equality and wants a fairer society.” What Raab rejects is the term itself: feminism. And Raab is not alone. In fact, his position represents the vast majority of women in the UK. Most women don’t identify as feminists. Young women, older women, and especially women in lower income brackets actively

James Forsyth

Can the Tories save themselves?

Parties don’t get rid of their leaders unless things are going very badly. But this Tory crisis is different in scale and size to anything we have seen in recent decades. The question is not whether the Tories can win the next election, but whether they can survive. The dire state that the Tories are in hasn’t put anyone off running to be leader, however. We suddenly have the most crowded field we have ever seen in a leadership race.Whoever wins will become prime minister without having to go through a general election. It’s quite a prize. Given the unpredictability of Tory contests and the frontrunners’ ability to destroy each

Katy Balls

Fighting fit

At a dinner in the Irish embassy in London last November, Dominic Raab believed he was on the brink of a Brexit breakthrough. In a meeting with Simon Coveney, Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Brexit secretary sought to find a compromise on the issue of the backstop. He explained that parliament would never agree an open-ended pledge in the way the EU envisaged: pushing things too far would end in the failure of talks. But Britain could make separate guarantees on the border, he said, leading to a ‘win, win’ for both sides. Coveney seemed interested, and suggested he would consider it. Just days later, the idea was dropped