/Johnson and Raab blasted for cringe photo op at Afghanistan crisis centre

Johnson and Raab blasted for cringe photo op at Afghanistan crisis centre

The Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary woke to find The Thick of It was trending. But it wasn’t news of a new series of the classic political cringe comedy, but footage of them that had gone viral

Video Loading

Video Unavailable

Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab visit crisis centre

Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab woke up facing ridicule this morning, after a video of a photo op they staged at an Afghanistan crisis centre went viral.

The pair posed for cameras at the Foreign Office’s Crisis centre, which is working 24 hours a day to help British nationals escape Kabul.

But footage, broadcast on the BBC’s Newsnight, of the PM and Foreign Secretary arriving and asking fairly basic questions about the work they do was compared to a scene from political cringe comedy The Thick Of It.

First Mr Johnson, fresh from elbow bumping a senior official, said: “Are you the guys who have been inundated with emails from all over the world saying ‘please help my son..mother..get out of Afghanistan?”

The senior official motioned to Mr Raab, saying “The Foreign Secretary has had a few in his office as well”.

Mr Johnson replied: “Yeah, I’ve had a few of them.”

Another staff member was shown telling the pair they had been contacted by “a lot of distressed people, saying that their family has been left behind and obviously wanting to bring them.”

The visit was compared to The Thick of It


Getty Images)

“It’s very, very difficult,” the Prime Minister observed.

Then, Mr Raab asked a question of his own: “Do we know whether the crowd [at Kabul airport] has thinned out yet because of the terrorist attack.”

He looked to the Prime Minister and said: “It was extraordinary that they all stayed.”

“Amazing, amazing,” the PM replied.

The staff member said: “There are still a few people who are trying to get in, but a lot of them have dispersed or gone back home because of our advice to them.”

“Yeah. Yeah,” Mr Johnson mumbled. “Well, thank you very much for all that you are doing.”

Overnight, the clip was shared thousands of times on Twitter, attracting widespread ridicule and criticism.

“He says “all the emails” like it’s irritating spam,” wrote former Tory MP Heidi Allen.

“Are you the guys who have been inundated with emails?”



“The flippancy and joviality with which he refers to the plight of abandoned, desperate UK citizens is contemptible. These are human beings Prime Minister, in case you’ve forgotten.”

Labour MP Wes Streeting wrote: “MPs’ caseworkers have been in tears this week under the pressure of wanting to help the distressing cases we’ve been receiving, including shocking images and footage of people beaten by the Taliban.

“This blasé attitude from Boris Johnson is like a punch in the gut. Contemptible.”

Some viewers said they struggled to believe it was real – with Labour MP Karl Turner assuring them: “Nah. This is real. Shocking I know.”

Labour MP Stella Creasey said: “If PM ‘surprised’ to get calls, imagine how our staff felt speaking to hundreds of people in such desperate circumstances having to tell them this government was finishing the evacuation and their relatives were left behind.

“And Raab surprised people still trying to get out..”

Twitter user Andrew Brooks wrote: “Imagine. You’ve been working around the clock fielding enquiries from distressed, desperate people.

“And then you have to put up with a visit from these two prize prats.”

“This is absolutely chilling. I feel sick watching it,” said Labour’s Anna McMorrin.

“Our Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary acting like something out of a comedy sketch. But this is real life.”

Original Source