It’s a long time ago now, so I’ll come clean. I was the one who went to the press.
To be frank, we were operating in chaos. Kabul had fallen in a day, the Taliban were putting crosses on doors, and Raab was sunning himself in Crete. Things weren’t much better once he got back. Those Johnson loyalists were bloody awful at the job.
The tipping point? The PM’s ghastly Thick of It walkabout at the Foreign Office. And of course the emails themselves.
A junior minister had asked me, almost as an aside, to “take a quick look” at the Operation Pitting account for MPs trying to evacuate Afghans. What greeted me was an entire week’s worth of unopened emails. Over FIVE THOUSAND of them! Just sitting there as the clock ticked down.
I’ve no regrets. I still feel a burning sense of shame for the lives we could have saved. There was a total moral vacuum at the heart of that government.
‘Revealed: Foreign Office ignored frantic pleas to help Afghans’ (28 Aug 2021): https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/28/revealed-foreign-office-ignored-pleas-help-afghans-mps-evacuation
‘Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab blasted for cringe photo op at Afghanistan crisis centre’ (28 Aug 2021): https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/boris-johnson-dominic-raab-blasted-24858600
MPs trying to rescue more than 7,000 people trapped in Afghanistan (31 Aug 2021): https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/aug/30/mps-trying-to-rescue-more-than-7000-people-trapped-in-afghanistan