Boris Johnson was preparing lavish banquet for ex-prime ministers two days before Kabul fell, documents reveal

Boris Johnson was preparing lavish banquet for ex-prime ministers two days before Kabul fell, documents reveal
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Boris Johnson
UK Prime Minister Boris JohnsonChristopher Furlong/Getty Images
  • Boris Johnson was organising a banquet for former prime ministers two days before Kabul fell.

  • The bash, held in September 2021, was to mark 100 years of PMs using Chequers.

  • Despite all former living prime ministers being invited, only Johnson and Theresa May attended.

Boris Johnson was planning a lavish banquet for former prime ministers two days before Kabul fell to the Taliban, as evacuation efforts began amidst a "deteriorating security situation".

A list of the prime minister's meetings for July to September shows Johnson met with the Chequers Trust for the purpose of discussing "preparations for centenary dinner" on Friday August 13.

That day, the UK's Operation Pitting was launched to support the evacuation of British nationals, former UK staff, and their families from Afghanistan. The government described there being a "deteriorating security situation" in Afghanistan, and urged British nationals to leave.

That afternoon, Johnson chaired an emergency Cobra meeting to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

The then Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was on holiday at the time and given permission by Johnson to stay on holiday on Friday, the Sunday Times reported. Two days later, Kabul would fall to the Taliban.

The centenary dinner was for former prime ministers, marking 100 years of Chequers's use as a grace-and-favour stately country home for the prime minister to use. The dinner itself was held a little over a month later on September 18, but was attended only by Johnson and Theresa May.

Labour's shadow foreign secretary, David Lammy MP, told Insider it was further proof of the prime minister's "skewed priorities".

He said: "Boris Johnson is obsessed with the trappings of being Prime Minister but yet again we see how fundamentally unfit he is to hold that office. In the days leading up to the fall of Kabul, the PM should have been focused on getting our troops, staff, and allies out safely, not micro-managing a lavish banquet in his grace-and-favour mansion.

"While it is no surprise this PM is fond of hosting parties, his skewed priorities are damaging our national interest with every day he remains in Number 10."

A Downing Street spokesperson said: "The PM's top priority throughout the crisis was the evacuation."

Downing Street suggested the meeting was brief and on a range of matters including the centenary dinner, despite only the centenary dinner being listed as the reason for the meeting between Johnson and the Chequers Trust.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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