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Johnson vows troops will stay in Afghanistan until all Brits are out

“Boris Johnson has refused to accept America’s “false deadline” for pulling out of Afghanistan. The PM insists he will keep a presence for as long as it takes to get people out of the war-torn country. US President Joe Biden has promised the military mission will end on August 31. But a senior government source said: “The situation is in flux. It would be unwise to impose a deadline. “Our priority is getting our people out safely and quickly.” Mr Johnson told United Nations boss Antonio Guterres yesterday that the organisation should lead the humanitarian effort. Downing Street said the PM also believes Nato and G7 leaders have a role to play. He has proposed a meeting this week to President Biden and other leaders to work on an immediate and long-term response to the crisis.” – Sun on Sunday

  • Defence Secretary admits Afghans will need to make their own way out after August – Mail on Sunday
  • Afghan refugees in UK may need new homes built for them due to lack of large properties – Sunday Telegraph
  • Traumatised Afghan children stranded for weeks in hotels – The Observer

Comment:

  • Britain will do right by those who need us most in Afghanistan – Priti Patel MP, Sun on Sunday
  • The American deadline is looming… we have no time to lose to get people out – Ben Wallace MP, Mail on Sunday

Tory criticism mounts over Raab’s handling of crisis

“Dominic Raab has sought to quell a growing backlash over his alleged inaction while Afghanistan was falling to the Taliban, as a Tory former foreign secretary said Raab had been “caught out” over his handling of the crisis. On Friday evening Raab’s position as foreign secretary appeared to remain safe despite it emerging that he delegated a key call to begin the evacuation of Afghan interpreters to a junior minister while on holiday in Crete last week. In a statement, Raab insisted he had been “working tirelessly” to help as many people as possible. Tory MPs continued to privately call for him to quit and acknowledged that the row had been a disaster that had left the prime minister, Boris Johnson, “very weakened”. Speaking anonymously, a Tory former foreign secretary said Raab “should have been on the case”.” – The Observer

  • Foreign secretary ‘nobbled’ Johnson for permission to remain in Crete – Sunday Times
  • Raab ‘defied orders’ to cut short his holiday – Sun on Sunday
  • Johnson came back from his holiday after just one day – Mail on Sunday

More:

  • ‘Of course I want a leadership position’: Tugendhat speaks – Mail on Sunday
  • Raab finally joins Tory MPs foreign affairs group chat two years into the job – Sun on Sunday

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Ex-servicemen enrich the Commons, but we should beware giving their views special status on matters of war

Ex-Prime Minister attacks Biden’s Afghanistan policy as Kabul chaos deepens

“Ministers have warned that Britain will have to tear up its foreign policy after the debacle in Afghanistan, amid flaring tempers about America’s decision to cut and run. Tony Blair branded Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw “imbecilic”, while cabinet insiders suggested the president was “gaga” and “doolally” for withdrawing so fast. The former prime minister, who sent British troops to Afghanistan in 2001, accused the president of pulling out “with little or no consultation” with his closest ally. In a sign of fraying nerves, Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, requested an urgent phone conversation with Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, to lobby the Americans to keep the evacuation at Kabul airport going beyond Biden’s deadline of August 31.” – Sunday Times

  • Blair: Putin stays and fights while the West runs – Sunday Times
  • Britain will be forced to turn to Russia and China to exercise ‘moderating influence’ over the Taliban, admits Raab – Mail on Sunday
  • Biden’s aides ‘too afraid’ to tell him he was wrong on Afghanistan – Sunday Telegraph
  • British servicemen ‘should be proud’, Armed Forces minister insists – Sunday Express
  • Has Kabul debacle opened a rift between Johnson and ‘doolally’ Biden? – Mail on Sunday

More:

Tony Blair: America’s retreat is imbecilic, and tells our enemies we don’t have any interests or values worth defending

“The abandonment of Afghanistan and its people is tragic, dangerous, unnecessary, not in their interests and not in ours. In the aftermath of the decision to return the country to the same group from which the carnage of 9/11 arose, and in a manner that seems almost designed to parade our humiliation, the question that allies and enemies alike pose is – has the West lost its strategic will? By that I mean, is it able to learn from experience, think strategically, define our interests strategically and on that basis commit strategically? Is ‘long term’ a concept we are still capable of grasping? Is the nature of our politics now inconsistent with asserting our traditional global leadership role? And do we care?” – Mail on Sunday

  • From mining to the moral high ground, China will ruthlessly exploit Biden’s misjudgment – Robert Colvile, Sunday Times
  • Leaders in Beijing and Moscow will be rubbing their hands over Afghanistan chaos – Iain Duncan Smith MP, Sun on Sunday
  • In a land with 14 tribes named in its anthem, we were played like a violin – Matthew Syed, Sunday Times

>Today: Michael Nazir-Ali in Comment: After the betrayal of democracy in Afghanistan, will other countries in the region ever trust the West again?

Heat pumps ‘worse’ than gas boilers for warming up homes, admits Energy Secretary

“Boris Johnson’s proposed green alternative to gas heating is inferior to traditional boilers, the Business and Energy Secretary has admitted, as he insisted that heat pumps were not “much worse” than the technology they are designed to replace. In an interview with The Telegraph, Kwasi Kwarteng conceded that, while gas boilers had been “refined over many years … heat pumps are still in their infancy”. Fears that the new technology provides significantly less heat in homes than traditional boilers were being “exaggerated”, Mr Kwarteng insisted… Mr Kwarteng says that providing incentives to firms to invest in the UK production of heat pumps and hydrogen will help the Government meet its target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions to zero, as well as help to “drive economic growth”, create new jobs, and bring down the costs of the technology.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • How a green taxes revolt in Redcar could force a change in Tory energy policy – Sunday Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Snap guide to this session’s Government legislation 8) High Speed Rail (West Midlands-Crewe) Bill

Truss’s NZ ‘masterstroke’ to worth £2.3bn a year

“Liz Truss’s incoming trade deal with New Zealand will be worth more than £2.3billion a year – and will slash tariffs on a range of UK exports including chocolate and gin. The International Trade Secretary has revealed she and her team are currently working “round the clock” to finalise the agreement, which she described as a “win-win for both countries” as well as an important step towards accessing the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). As well as chocolate and gin, buses and clothes are among a list of British products on which tariffs of up to 10 percent could be dumped in a move that would encourage Kiwis to buy British.” – Sunday Express

Nightclub vaccine passport policy ‘in disarray’, leaked letter reveals

“Boris Johnson has been accused of letting his vaccine passports plan descend into disarray as a leaked letter from government lawyers stated that “no final policy decision” had been taken on requiring the passes in nightclubs. The Prime Minister had said that full vaccination will be a condition of entry for nightclubs and large venues by the end of September, in a move that sparked a backlash by hospitality industry leaders and divided opinion among ministers. But in a letter written on behalf of Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, last week, the Government Legal Department stated that “no final policy decision has yet been taken” in relation to the issue, adding that “any further announcements will be made in due course”. The letter appears at odds with comments by Boris Johnson who has said those attending nightclubs and “other venues where large crowds gather” in England will need to be fully vaccinated from that date.” – Sunday Telegraph

SNP and Scottish Greens confirm power-sharing deal in historic moment

“The Scottish National party and the Scottish Greens have confirmed a power-sharing agreement, ushering the Green party into government for the first time in the UK in a change designed to bolster the case for independence. Nicola Sturgeon said the agreement would make it “impossible” for the UK government to refuse a second independence referendum but environmental campaigners expressed disappointment that the text fell short of calling for an immediate end to oil and gas exploration. The SNP leader said the agreement was based on a “spirit of cooperation and consensus building” that “recognises that business as usual is not good enough” and would ultimately deliver a “greener, fairer independent Scotland”.” – The Guardian