Published:

Raab was ‘too busy’ on holiday to help brave translators

“Dominic Raab failed to make a crucial phone call while he was on holiday to seek urgent help airlifting translators out of Afghanistan, the Mail can reveal. Senior officials in the Foreign Secretary’s department advised last Friday that he should make immediate contact with Afghan foreign minister Hanif Atmar as the Taliban advanced on Kabul. The officials said Mr Raab, who was on a luxury break with his family in Crete, needed to urgently request assistance in rescuing interpreters who had worked for the British military. They said it was important the call was made by him rather than a junior minister. But Mr Raab did not make the call. Officials were told he was unavailable and that Lord Goldsmith, the Foreign Office minister on duty, should speak to Mr Atmar instead.” – Daily Mail

  • Foreign Secretary faces questions over position – The Independent
  • Raab ‘too busy’ on holiday to make phone call about saving Afghan interpreters – The Times

More:

  • UK must not abandon Afghan commandos on run from Taliban, say former British officers – Daily Telegraph
  • Translator saved by the ‘Angel of Kabul’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Starmer accuses the Government of “staggering complacency”

Parliament holds Biden in contempt over Afghanistan

“Joe Biden’s handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal was condemned as “catastrophic” and “shameful” on Wednesday as the Houses of Parliament delivered an unprecedented rebuke to a US president. MPs and peers from across the political spectrum, including Boris Johnson, put some blame for the Taliban’s takeover and the chaos that followed on Britain’s closest ally. Mr Biden was accused of “throwing us and everybody else to the fire” by pulling out US troops, and was called “dishonourable” for criticising Afghan forces for not having the will to fight. Former defence chiefs who led British troops in the Middle East were among those to speak out, while there were warnings that the West’s withdrawal would embolden Russia and China.” – Daily Telegraph

  • MPs blast ‘shameful’ president over his ‘distasteful and dishonouring’ Afghanistan speech – The Sun
  • Afghanistan withdrawal ‘damn well feels like defeat’, Tory MPs tell Johnson – Daily Telegraph
  • May says country ‘may once again become a breeding ground for terrorism’ – The Guardian
  • Prime Minister says we ‘must face the reality of regime change in Afghanistan’ during Commons grilling – The Sun
  • Corbyn ally criticised for ‘deeply offensive’ suggestion that UK pay reparations to Afghanistan – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Tugendhat and Baron. One well known, the other less. But it’s Baron who speaks for more voters on intervention.

>Yesterday:

Patel insists Britain ‘can’t accommodate 20,000 Afghans all in one go’

“Priti Patel today insisted Britain can’t take 20,000 Afghan refugees “all in one go” as she hit back at criticism of the Government’s new scheme. Boris Johnson will this morning formally announce a “bespoke” resettlement route for desperate migrants fleeing the brutal Taliban. Some 5,000 Afghans will be accepted in the first year followed by a further 15,000 in the “long term”. Ministers have already come under fire for not taking enough. Tory MP David Davis says the UK should take “north of 50,000”. Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey is calling for 20,000 to be admitted next year alone… Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds blasted: “This proposal does not meet the scale of the challenge.” The Home Secretary insisted plans were being drawn up and said “we can’t just press the button today” and let everyone into the country.” – The Sun

  • Home Secretary hints Afghans crossing Channel will be treated same as other migrants – The Guardian
  • Women and girls get priority in plan to save 20,000 refugees – The Times
  • EU stepping up efforts to prevent Afghan refugees from getting past Turkey – Daily Telegraph
  • North of England leaders urge fair distribution of Afghan refugees – The Guardian

>Yesterday:

Britain fears US forces may pull out of Kabul airport within days

“Britain fears US forces may pull out of Kabul international airport within days, putting it at risk of closure and raising concerns over the emergency airlift of thousands of people from Afghanistan. Whitehall and security sources said they could not guarantee how long the US would keep its contingent of 6,000 troops on the ground and cautioned that the UK could not continue the rescue without their presence. They also indicated Britain was not engaging with the Taliban directly over security or other issues after the militant group seized the Afghan capital. The Guardian has learned that some in government, however, believe there is a shift by UK ministers and the military towards dealing directly with the Taliban and legitimising their role – a position that would anger those who believe they have not changed.” – The Guardian

  • Biden says US troops may stay in Afghanistan beyond 31 August deadline – The Guardian
  • White House signs joint statement with 19 other nations asking the Taliban to protect women and girls – Daily Mail
  • Taliban scholars to decide rights for women in Afghanistan – The Times
  • President insists there was no way to leave Afghanistan ‘without chaos ensuing’… – Daily Telegraph
  • …but his comments are condemned on all sides – Daily Mail

More:

  • Planes leaving half empty after Taliban set up ring of steel – The Times
  • Terrified mothers throw babies over barbed wire at Kabul airport – The Sun
  • Former Afghan president addresses his homeland after fleeing the Taliban – Daily Mail
  • Taliban kill protesters who tried to raise Afghan flag – Daily Telegraph
  • The Afghan resistance to the Taliban begins in the Panjshir Valley – The Times

>Today: Benedict Rogers in Comment: Hong Kong, Myanmar – and now Afghanistan. America and Britain have failed all three. Next, Taiwan?

>Yesterday:

Fresh Brexit battle looms as Frost set to ignite new row over Protocol

“A major Brexit battle is at risk of breaking out over the Northern Ireland Protocol as the UK Government could demand an extension to grace periods for key products which expire next month. The Protocol, part of the Brexit divorce deal agreed by the UK and Brussels, effectively keeps Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods. This means checks on goods being sent from Great Britain into the single market in some cases could result in prohibitions on certain products that do not comply with EU rules. Following unionist anger over the Protocol at Stormont, Brexit minister Lord Frost put forward plans to renegotiate the Protocol, which he set out in a Command Paper last month. Negotiations are currently ongoing with the EU to find a solution. But this publication has learnt UK ministers are considering another extension as the September 30 deadline to the current extension runs out, sparking a potential “sausage war”.” – Daily Express

Union dividend has increased to more than £2,200 for every Scot

“People in Scotland benefit from a “Union dividend” worth £2,210 each, Scottish government figures show. Scotland’s public spending deficit has more than doubled to £36.9 billion, according to figures published yesterday, which showed the impact of coronavirus. The annual Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (Gers) report estimated that in the year to March 2021, Scotland raised £382 less in tax per person than the UK average while public spending per capita in Scotland was £1,828 higher. This gave a “Union dividend” of £2,210, up from £2,044 in the previous 12 months. According to a separate analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), the economic think tank, Scotland’s fiscal deficit per person is substantially lower than that of Wales at just under £4,300 and Northern Ireland at just under £5,000. The north of England’s deficit is just over £2,700 while the south of England is estimated to have had a fiscal surplus of just over £2,000.” – The Times

  • SNP likely to lose independence referendum court battle, says former government official – Daily Telegraph
  • Indy reality turns tide in favour of Unionists, says ex-MP – Daily Express

James Dyson: Britain’s competitiveness will suffer if we don’t return to work

“The Government is eagerly filling sporting arenas, music festivals and nightclubs; now it must take the less popular decision and unequivocally lead people back to offices and workplaces too. In a fast-paced global world, teamwork, collaboration and rapid learning are vital – Britain’s competitiveness and the chances of the next generation will suffer if the workforce remains at home. After 18 months in isolation, the team spirit built up pre-pandemic will have largely dissipated among individuals working principally from home. It is also increasingly hard to learn, develop and grow when in isolation. Britain’s competitors have kept forging ahead, maintaining higher workplace attendance despite the pandemic. The Government must now harness any “vaccine dividend” and support Britain’s firms as they seek to recover their global competitiveness – returning to the workplace is the essential starting point.” – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • Could monarchy have saved Afghanistan? – Gawain Towler, The Critic
  • America abandoned this fight before the Afghans did – Paul Wood, The Spectator
  • Private schools have a crucial role to play in welcoming Afghan refugees – David James, CapX
  • The Godfather of Critical Race Theory – Tomiwa Owolade, UnHerd