The Conservative Party is embroiled in a new scandal with their handling of the crisis in Afghanistan at the eye of the storm, demonstrating that once again they are a party that put their own interests above that of the people.
News has now emerged that the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab returned home from a luxury holiday in Crete two days after he was ordered to return by Downing Street, after the prime minister told him he could stay on.
Last week Raab said he would not resign despite being under fire for delegating an urgent call to help airlift translators out of Afghanistan to a junior counterpart as the Taliban took control of Kabul following the US withdrawal of troops from the country.
According to the Times Raab returned home at 1.40am on Monday, after the capital city had already fallen and the Afghan government had collapsed.
The UK government has been criticised, including by Tory MPs, for not doing enough after it announced it was taking 20,000 Afghan refugees through an official resettlement programme despite the fact that 18 million Afghans are now in need of humanitarian aid.
Now it has emerged that roughly 50 dual British-Afghan citizens have been overlooked for evacuation and the government has been accused of discrimination.
The controversy comes as Education Minister Gavin Williamson faces a legal challenge for infringing the right of pupils to freedom of expression after they raised the Palestinian flag and collected funds for charity following the Israeli air strikes on Gaza in May.
Advocacy organisation CAGE says that direct intervention by Williamson through his letter to schools on how to discuss Palestine offers “discriminatory guidance to school leaders on Palestine” and amounts to “censorship of political dissent in schools.”
CAGE has documented 47 students and teachers who were given disciplinary action from verbal warnings to the adoption of anti-extremism measures including a referral to the Prevent programme. All of them are Muslim.
In November last year more than 80 leading academics accused the government of misrepresenting critical race theory by proscribing certain works and resources to be taught in the classroom after the Department for Education said schools should not use material that takes “extreme political stances.”
The Coalition of Anti-Racist Educators said this guidance would stop teachers using material from Extinction Rebellion, Black Lives Matter, and more generally limit teaching against racism.
At the beginning of this month Labour leader Keir Starmer called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to sack Williamson for failing children during the lockdown and for the growing gap in attainment following the release of A-level results after 70 per cent of grades for independent school pupils were A-A* whilst for comprehensive pupils they were 39 per cent.
“The growing education inequality could be the legacy of covid if we’re not very careful,” said Sir Kevan Collins, the former schools catch-up tsar.
Sir Kevan also warned that the gap was also widening geographically, with 48 per cent of A-A* grades in London compared to 39 per cent in the north-east, whilst Ofqual data revealed that black students on free school meals or living in high deprivation areas were less likely to get an A-A* than their advantaged peers.
During the covid crisis the Tory Party has on numerous occasions made matters worse, rather than better, including through Eat Out to Help Out, the treasury’s plan to get governmental funded discounts on food and soft drinks that ended up contributing towards the second wave of the virus in the UK.
In January, as schools were mainly shut across the country due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, photographs of the food parcels – a can of baked beans, cheese slices and Frubes – being given to families by the government went viral. “Then imagine we expect the children to engage in learning from home,” wrote Marcus Rashford on Twitter.
Then imagine we expect the children to engage in learning from home. Not to mention the parents who, at times, have to teach them who probably haven’t eaten at all so their children can…
We MUST do better. This is 2021 https://t.co/mEZ6rCA1LE
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) January 11, 2021
In June, Matt Hancock resigned as health secretary after Tory MPs demanded he be dismissed after he was caught on CCTV kissing his aide Gina Coladangelo in his ministerial office, against the COVID-19 restrictions he had put in place. Gina is the sister of an executive director at Partnering Limited, which has won a string of NHS contracts.
Late last year Boris Johnson overrode a decision to sack the Home Secretary Priti Patel despite the fact that an inquiry into her conduct at work found evidence of bullying and that she broke the ministerial code of conduct. Top home office civil servant Sir Phillip Rutnam accused her of a “vicious and orchestrated campaign” against him.
This week, the news is that Johnson is facing a legal battle over whether the Conservative Party were putting taxpayers’ money into Conservative constituencies through a £4.8 billion ($6.6 billion) Levelling Up Fund. How many more scandals can one party get away with?
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.