Gavin Williamson defends Dominic Raab over holiday to Crete

‘Education secretaries don’t get holidays’: Gavin Williamson defends Dominic Raab’s break in Crete as Afghanistan fell – but reveals he only managed ‘a few days in Scarborough’

  • Dominic Raab faced criticism over failure to return early from holiday in Crete
  • Gavin Williamson has insisted Mr Raab is ‘always on top of things’ wherever he is
  • But Education Secretary also said he had not had time to take a lengthy break
  • Mr Williamson said he had only managed ‘couple of days up in Scarborough’

Gavin Williamson today defended Dominic Raab over his holiday to Crete amid the fall of Afghanistan but said: ‘As Education Secretary, you tend not to have holidays.’

Mr Williamson said Mr Raab was ‘always on top of things’ wherever he is in the world and is ‘always in contact’. 

But the Education Secretary contrasted Mr Raab’s decision to take a break abroad with his own summer plans which only saw him manage ‘a couple of days up in Scarborough to see my mum and dad’. 

Gavin Williamson today defended Dominic Raab over his holiday to Crete amid the fall of Afghanistan but said: ‘As Education Secretary, you tend not to have holidays.’

Mr Raab arrived in Qatar in the early hours of this morning for talks. He has faced criticism for delaying his return from a luxury break on the Greek island last month

Mr Raab has faced criticism for delaying his return from a luxury break on the Greek island last month as the situation in Afghanistan deteriorated.

The Foreign Secretary refused to answer questions about the trip when he gave evidence yesterday to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee on his handling of the UK’s withdrawal. 

He previously said that in hindsight he would not have gone on holiday but insisted he was working remotely from his hotel room. 

Mr Williamson was asked this morning during an interview on LBC Radio if he believed Mr Raab should have returned to the UK sooner.   

He said: ‘Well Dom is flying out to Qatar today. He’s leading, not just Britain’s efforts, but actually global efforts to ensure that those people who have, still in Afghanistan, have safe passage.’

Presenter Nick Ferrari referred to a private Foreign Office document from July 22 – two weeks before Mr Raab’s holiday – which had appeared to warn the Taliban could rapidly sweep to power.

Mr Ferrari said: ‘Would you have gone on holiday just a few weeks after receiving a memo that seemed to suggest that Afghanistan was about to crumble?’

The Education Secretary said: ‘Well the Foreign Secretary has always, wherever he’s been, and of course, wherever he’s been on the globe, is always in contact, always on top of things, always actually doing everything that’s needed.’

Pushed on if he would have gone on holiday in those circumstances, Mr Williamson replied: ‘As Education Secretary, you tend not to have holidays, you see…’

Mr Ferrari then sought clarity as he asked Mr Williamson if he had not had a holiday this summer. 

The Cabinet minister said: ‘I got a couple of days up in Scarborough to see my mum and dad, so that was very nice, but Dom, at every stage, has been working tirelessly, to make sure everything that is done, and the Prime Minister has absolute full confidence in him and everyone is doing everything they can to ensure safe passage, but to welcome and give people a warm welcome as they enter this country.’

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