Why Dominic Raab’s Vote Leave past could save him from Boris Johnson sacking

Dominic Raab 'should be fired instead of resigning' says caller

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Dominic Raab has faced calls to resign from the public, military officials and within Parliament in the past few days due to his management of the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. The Foreign Secretary was on holiday in Crete when the nation fell to the group prompting many to criticise the Minister for his decision not to return at an earlier point as all signs pointed to the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan.

Mr Raab is currently fighting for his job as Foreign Secretary with a risk he could be sacked.

The narrative circulating suggests he was on a beach in Crete as Kabul fell.

This story is now fixed in the public’s mind, alongside claims he refused to take any calls as he lay on a sun lounger last week.

These claims have prompted outrage on both the Labour and Tory backbenchers, as well as among the public and many current and former military officers who have echoed inevitable calls on the Foreign Secretary to resign.

On Friday, Mr Raab released a statement setting out his version of events and disputing claims made against him.

He defended his decision not to call his Afghan counterpart over evacuating translators who had helped the UK.

The Foreign Secretary said he prioritised “security” at Kabul airport and “delegated” the call to a junior minister.

The call did not take place due to the “rapidly deteriorating situation” in Afghanistan.

He has rejected repeated calls to resign and said the Government has been “working tirelessly over the last week to help as many people evacuate from Afghanistan as possible”.

A cabinet reshuffle was due to happen earlier in 2021 but was delayed most likely due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Another one was mooted for before the summer – a more traditional time of year for reshuffles, so that sacked ministers are given a few months off to cool down.

Now speculation has been raised once again suggesting a reshuffle is planned for September could be delayed to later this year or even January 2022.

The FT reported Boris Johnson wants to wait until the Cop26 in November to find a place for the former business secretary Alok Sharma.

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Some senior ministers such as Sajid Javid and Matt Hancock found themselves in positions where they felt they had to resign.

However, Dominic Raab and Priti Patel are veterans of the Vote Leave campaign and therefore are believed to be safe from sacking.

Mr Johnson is said to like to surround himself with “old dogs” rather than potential rivals.

Given the current Foreign Secretary’s Vote Leave affiliation and close relationship with the Prime Minister, it is unlikely he would be removed from office to cause trouble on the backbenches.

Instead, it is more likely he could face a job swap to another big office of state – perhaps Justice Secretary given his legal background and interest in home affairs.

The Prime Minister stood by his Foreign Secretary when questioned about Mr Raab’s actions on Friday.

Mr Johnson said: “Absolutely.

“And I can tell you that the whole of the Government has been working virtually around the clock to do what we can to sort it out, to deal with a situation that has been long in gestation and to make sure we get as many people back as possible.”

Mr Johnson also said he did not think Mr Raab’s decision to delay the rescue of Afghan interpreters from the Taliban was incorrect.

When asked if people have been left in the country as a result of Mr Raab not making the call, he said: “No, I don’t think that’s the case.”

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