PM is 'in charge' of UK response to Iran crisis despite still being on holiday claims Dominic Raab

Posted On: 
5th January 2020

The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said Boris Johnson is still “in charge” over the developing Middle East crisis despite being on holiday in the Caribbean.

The Prime Minister is set to return to the UK on Sunday

The Prime Minister had been accused of “deafening silence” over the killing of Iran military chief Qassem Suleimani in a US drone strike on Friday.

He has been spending the New Year on the Carribean island of Mustique with his partner Carrie Symonds, but is expected to return to the UK on Sunday.

Speaking to Sky News Mr Raab hit back at those criticising Mr Johnson for failing to return to the UK sooner.

He said: "The Prime Minister is in charge. In fact I've been in constant contact with him over the Christmas break on a whole range of foreign policy issues.

“We were in touch on Friday in relation to the situation in Iraq and the whole government is working very closely together.”

And, when asked by presenter Sophy Ridge why the PM hadn’t returned sooner, he said: “What really matters here is that the government has got a very clear strategy and message which is that we want to see deescalation, we are going to do everything we can to protect UK diplomatic and military missions and we are going about that business.”

Mr Raab also said he had spoken to both the Iraqi Prime Minister and President in attempts to cool the situation, and that he intended to contact the Iranian foreign minister.

And he expressed muted support for the US strike, saying he “understands the position the Americans found themselves in”.

The Foreign Secretary is expected to travel to the US this week for talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has been critical of Europe’s response.

Mr Pompeo said: “Frankly, the Europeans haven’t been as helpful as I wish that they could be.

“The Brits, the French, the Germans all need to understand that what we did, what the Americans did, saved lives in Europe as well.”

Over the weekend, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace confirmed that the Royal Navy was sending ships to protect British vessels in the region, and the Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to Iraq and Iran.

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