Boris Johnson told to 'get off his sun lounger' and speak out on US killing of Iranian commander

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner gives a speech during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton.
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner has told Boris Johnson to make a statement on the killing of a top Iranian military commander. (PA Images)

Boris Johnson has been told to “get off his sun lounger” and make a statement on the American killing of a top Iranian general.

Labour shadow education secretary Angela Rayner - who has widely been tipped to enter the race for her party’s deputy leader role - said the Prime Minister needed to speak about the “escalating dangerous situation” in the Middle East.

Mr Johnson has been holidaying on the Caribbean island of Mustique with girlfriend Carrie Symonds.

Ms Rayner’s comments follow the US assassination of Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s notorious Quds Force, in Iraq. President Donald Trump said the general was planning fatal attacks against Americans.

The killing has led to speculation over how the Iranians might respond, with the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declaring that “harsh retaliation is waiting”.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab released a statement earlier today, which said: “We have always recognised the aggressive threat posed by the Iranian Quds force led by Qassem Soleimani.

“Following his death, we urge all parties to de-escalate. Further conflict is in none of our interests.”

Asked if a comment from the Prime Minister could be expected, the Downing Street press office told Yahoo News UK that the government’s response was being led by the Foreign Office.

Mr Johnson has visited the private island of Mustique to celebrate the New Year.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds arrive in Downing Street after the Conservative Party was returned to power in the General Election with an increased majority.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds have travelled to the Caribbean on holiday. (PA Images)
Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Qassem Soleimani (L) stands at the frontline during offensive operations against Islamic State militants in the town of Tal Ksaiba in Salahuddin province March 8, 2015. Picture taken March 8, 2015.  REUTERS/Stringer (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT POLITICS)
Qassem Soleimani (L) during a campaign against ISIS in 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

Mr Raab’s comments have been criticised by Labour’s shadow foreign secretary and leadership candidate Emily Thornberry.

“The Foreign Office’s call for restraint today is too little and far too late, in the wake of such a brazen, unlawful and provocative attack,” she said.

Soleimani was an influential and important commander for Iran who oversaw their involvement in the Syrian Civil War and conflict in Iraq.

He was in charge of the Quds Force, which the US has designated as a terrorist organisation.

In two tweets, President Trump said the commander was responsible for killing and injuring “thousands of Americans” and claimed he was also accountable for deaths in Iran, too.

The Foreign Office has advised British people visiting Iran to avoid any rallies, marches or processions taking place during the three days of national mourning declared in the country.

“Rallies and marches are likely in cities across Iran, and could become angry,” advice on the Foreign Office website states.