Who will replace Dominic Raab as Foreign Secretary if he resigns? Two candidates for Boris

Ben Wallace defends Dominic Raab for failing to make phone call

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Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was unavailable to make a key phone call last Friday as the Taliban advanced on Kabul because he was on holiday. Officials in the Foreign Office suggested he urgently phone Hanif Atmar on August 13 to arrange assistance with evacuating Afghan interpreters.

But instead, Mr Raab attempted to delegate the phone call to a junior minister, Lord Goldsmith, although it now transpires the call never took place.

A Foreign Office spokesperson has now said: “Given the rapidly changing situation it was not possible to arrange a call before the Afghan government collapsed.”

The revelations have infuriated politicians from all sides, but Mr Raab had rejected calls to quit.

A senior Whitehall source said: “The PM is livid at Raab, and can’t believe he didn’t take the call – and the Defence Secretary is apoplectic.”

Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said: “For the prime minister and foreign secretary to be on holiday during the biggest foreign policy crisis in a generation is an unforgivable failure of leadership.”

Mr Raab was given a scathing in parliament this week for his absence, with Keir Starmer asking Mr Raab how he could manage to coordinate a response to the situation in Afghanistan ‘from the beach’.

The Foreign secretary was reportedly seen relaxing on a beach on the Greek island of Crete as the Taliban captured Kabul.

It comes amid reports that three of the UK’s most senior civil servants, who are in charge of the departments dealing with the evacuation from Afghanistan, have been on holiday while events in Kabul unfolded.

Who could replace Dominic Raab?

Liz Truss

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss could be moved into the Foreign Office if Dominic Raab steps down.

Ms Truzz has been tipped for a promotion in the next cabinet reshuffle, likely to take place this November following the COP26 in Glasgow, and is known to be one of Boris Johnson’s most favoured cabinet leaders.

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She’s also highly prized among Conservative voters – in the latest polling of Tory party members, she came out on top as the most popular member of the cabinet.

The Trade Secretary’s supporters see her strength as her ability to get things done, including tentatively sealing a trade deal with Australia and taking the first steps to resolve the Airbus/Boeing dispute over aircraft subsidies with the US.

She is also one of the few cabinet members to not have faced a significant crisis in office, in comparison to the likes of Gavin Williamson, Matt Hancock, and Priti Patel.

Ms Truss served as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice from July 2016 until June 2017, and Chief Secretary to the Treasury from June 2017 until July 2019 until her promotion to trade secretary.

Michael Gove

A long-time political competitor and close ally of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove could be moved in to helm the Foreign Office if Mr Raab goes.

Currently, he is the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office.

Mr Gove has held numerous positions in Government since the Tories came to power in 2010, including Secretary of State for Education, Government Chief Whip and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, and Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.

Moving Mr Gove into the foreign office would made him Mr Johnson’s theoretical deputy – something Mr Gove is unlikely to pass up on given his previous attempts at becoming Tory leader.

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