EMBATTLED Dominic Raab must be booted out of office over his handling of the crisis in Afghanistan, an exclusive Sun on Sunday poll finds.
The Foreign Secretary — who remained on holiday at the height of the chaos — should either quit, be fired or be moved in a reshuffle, say 62 per cent of voters quizzed.
Just one in five believe the under-pressure Cabinet minister should remain in position after a bruising month — which included his luxury sunshine break in Crete.
Mr Raab’s slow return from his summer jaunt as the Taliban were about to take Kabul caused 23 per cent of voters to hold him most responsible for the Afghanistan chaos from a domestic viewpoint.
He was blamed more than PM Boris Johnson, on 19 per cent, and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace on 11 per cent for the fanatics seizing control of Afghanistan.
The findings come after our heroic troops withdrew from the country last weekend to end the evacuation mission to rescue stranded Brits and some loyal Afghans.
TV viewers around the world saw thousands of Afghans waiting for days at Kabul airport in a desperate bid to come to the UK — with many left behind.
Now that the troops are home from the war-torn country, the blame game has begun in earnest.
Voters in the UK point the finger squarely at US President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump for the chaotic withdrawal.
Thirty per cent find Biden responsible and 23 per cent think Trump was to blame.
In contrast, Mr Johnson is largely unscathed with only five per cent of the overall blame.
The PM’s response to follow the US out of Afghanistan — in the face of calls from some to remain — resulted in 53 per cent backing his stance.
Even half of Labour voters polled supported the emergency evacuation, with only one in four overall believing we should have held firm in the country.
Martin Boon of Deltapoll, which carried out the research, said: “Boris Johnson again shrugs off his latest crisis, this time over the Afghanistan withdrawal.”
But he added: “The Prime Minister, who throughout his political career has enjoyed stratospheric personal approval ratings, has gone negative.
“His -2 score is based on 49 per cent saying he’s currently doing a bad job compared to 47 per cent who remain happy with his performance.
“Being on -2 is still pretty respectable territory for a leader. But Dominic Raab’s late retreat from the sun loungers of Crete while the airlift in Afghanistan began sees half of voters either wanting Boris to sack him or demand he walks himself.”
Senior Tory MP and Commons defence select committee chairman Tobias Ellwood, who writes in HOAR on Sunday today, wants a radical shake-up at the Foreign Office following the Afghan crisis.
CONCERNED ABOUT CONSEQUENCES
Meanwhile, British voters are concerned about the consequences of troops withdrawing from Afghanistan.
Fear has struck the public, with nearly six in ten, some 56 per cent, believing the risk of an Afghanistan-linked terror attack here has increased.
Twenty-four per cent say there will be no difference to the terror threat and around ten per cent believe the threat will be lower.
Our poll highlighted how sensitive people think the issue of negotiating with the Taliban will be despite Mr Raab flying out to Qatar and Pakistan for talks this week.
Some 44 per cent of the public are yet to be convinced over engaging with the militant group on anything other than ensuring that qualifying Brits and Afghanis are given a safe route back to the UK.
After the huge effort from officials on the ground in Kabul and London, 47 per cent believe the Afghans here should be given permanent residency.
Despite many polled being upset with Mr Biden for his refusal to delay the withdrawal of American troops from the country, Brits want to keep close ties with the US.
An emphatic 57 per cent still want to maintain the Special Relationship between the two countries — with just one in five ready to ditch it.
Researchers for Deltapoll surveyed 1,589 adults on Thursday and Friday.
Rishi must ringfence Covid bill – Tobias Ellwood, Tory MP and ex-Defence Minister
AFGHANISTAN proved one of the toughest tests of leadership for the Prime Minister.
America’s decision to withdraw, handing the country back to the very insurgency we went in to defeat, shows just how weak the West has become in defending our international standards and values.
Global stability was not in a good place prior to departing Afghanistan.
But it has suddenly got a lot more dangerous with another dictatorship back in charge, unable and unwilling to control the terrorism that will again emanate from the Afghan mountains.
We can be immensely proud of all our troops who were involved in this historic evacuation.
It’s only fitting their efforts are honoured with a medal.
But as HOAR on Sunday poll reveals today, the public was less impressed with the actions of the Foreign Office.
We have a tried and tested system of decision-making, but Whitehall departments are too siloed and the entire machine has become risk-averse.
Another reality check for us is the poor state of the “special relationship” with the US. We were kept out of the loop in all the big decisions.
We must prioritise rekindling those back political channels which have served us so well in the past.
And finally, if America does choose to take a step back from global affairs, it leaves a vacuum of leadership in the West.
This has traditionally been filled by the UK, and it is time for us to step forward once again. But this means spending more on our hard and soft power – a tough call with the Treasury facing a £400billion bill for tackling the pandemic.
The nation’s security must come first. I believe there’s a lesson to be learned from our past.
We did not pay off our Second World War debts until 2006. The bill was treated like a mortgage, paid over decades. Let’s do the same with the Covid debt.
That will mean more money available – not just for Defence but other departments including Health and Education.
The only other choice would be to increase taxes or NI payments, neither of which is mentioned in the Tory manifesto.
The Deltapoll in this paper today shows nearly half of voters want there to be no change.
The Government must be acutely aware of the ramifications.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak gained credit for his imaginative solutions to help our economy through the pandemic.
He now needs to design a long fiscal instrument to pay off the Covid bill.
If he doesn’t, we are likely to see unrest on the domestic front and we will not be able to adequately invest in our soft and hard power given the increasing threats we now face.