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Boris Johnson has left Downing Street for a four-day trip with his family, but No 10 insisted he was “continuing to work” as Britons and Afghans remained stranded after the withdrawal of forces from Kabul.
Mr Johnson has already faced criticism for going on holiday as the Taliban was marching its way back to power in Afghanistan, while Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was on holiday to Crete.
The spokesman declined to describe the trip as a holiday, instead insisting Mr Johnson was “continuing to work” away from the office until he returns to No 10 on Thursday.
“The Prime Minister is away for the next two days in the west of England but is continuing to work and will be back in the office in Downing Street on Thursday,” he said.
The spokesman was unable to say what time he departed, but said it was at some point on Sunday, around a day after the final British troops left Kabul.
Mr Raab said the number of UK nationals left behind was in the “low hundreds”, and could not say how many Afghans the RAF was unable to airlift to safety.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace had previously estimated that up to 1,100 eligible Afghans who had aided the British mission would not be evacuated in time.
Asked what he would say to critics who say Mr Johnson should not go on holiday during such a crucial period, his spokesman said: “I would say the Prime Minister is continuing to work.”
Pressed whether Mr Johnson is working full time, he responded: “The Prime Minister is continuing to work.”