Cleverly defends beleaguered boss Raab over Afghanistan collapse

A Foreign Office minister has defended the organisation’s response to the crisis in Afghanistan amid allegations that Dominic Raab is a “control freak” who faces the sack.

James Cleverly insisted the allegations about the Foreign Secretary’s style of leadership were “not true” and insisted the organisation had responded swiftly to the unprecedented events in Afghanistan.

Mr Raab has faced criticism for being on holiday in Crete as the Taliban swept across Afghanistan.

In the latest sign of the Whitehall infighting, one Government source told The Times: “I think he is toast in the next reshuffle”, and the Foreign Office “is a poorly led organisation with a control freak in charge who won’t delegate anything”.

But Mr Cleverly told Times Radio: “I don’t know where that’s where that’s coming from. The organisation that I see really sprang quickly into an activity that was at a scale and nature that was unprecedented.”

James Cleverly
James Cleverly (Aaron Chown/PA)

Asked directly whether Mr Raab was a “control freak”, Mr Cleverly said: “No, that’s not true. It’s not true.”

On the suggestion Mr Raab was “toast” in the next reshuffle because of his failings, Mr Cleverly told LBC Radio: “Government departments and ministers – including Dominic – worked incredibly hard, we worked together, we were able to get out over 15,000 people in those last couple of weeks, because all bits of Government had a role to play and discharged those roles and those functions incredibly, incredibly professionally.

“That includes Dominic, as well. None of us could have done it on our own, we could only do it working collaboratively, that’s what happened.

“It was a brutal, horrible, incredibly difficult time and yet – as I say – we were able to evacuate over 15,000 people and that is a herculean task.”