BORIS Johnson was accused of rewarding “incompetence” in his Cabinet during a Commons debate on the Afghanistan crisis and his Foreign Secretary’s heavily criticised approach to the situation.

Ian Blackford took to the floor in the Chamber on the first day back after summer recess to attack the Foreign Office for failing to answer key questions about the efforts of Afghans to be evacuated following the Taliban take-over.

Last week, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab appeared at the Foreign Affairs committee and faced questions over his movements during the crisis in Afghanistan.

Raab was in Crete on holiday when Kabul fell to the Taliban but has argued he continued taking phone calls about the situation.

The minister also rejected calls to resign from his position after it emerged he failed to make a phone call to help translators trying to flee Afghanistan.

Speaking in the Commons, SNP Westminster leader Blackford pointed out that typically Cabinet ministers appear at the despatch box to “cover” for prime ministers – while today the Prime Minister was doing that for one of his ministers.

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He told MPS that after Raab “failed to answer even basic questions” at his committee appearance, he hoped Johnson was “more prepared” this afternoon.

Blackford brought up concerns from MPs’ constituents who are stuck in Afghanistan or seeking help for people who are there.

“It is a disgrace that most of these urgent queries have been left unresolved and unanswered,” he told the Commons. “A disgrace not for us but all those who have been left behind, UK and Afghan nationals who are now fearful and in many cases in hiding.”

“Thousands of desperate people, people we have a depth of responsibility to, have been left with no clarity, no answers and no help.”

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Blackford asked what assessment has been made of the number of UK nationals still in Afghanistan and how they will be helped, and pushed Johnson to say how many Afghans qualified under the Arap scheme have been “left behind”. He asked the Tory leader to apologise to those who have been left “high and dry”.

“The Government had 18 months, 18 months to prepare an exit strategy in Afghanistan,” he told the MPs. “So can the Prime Minister give a firm deadline when the massive backlog of applications will be processed and provide a new target date for when safe passage will be offered to those UK and Afghan citizens?”

Blackford also asked for more information on the four-nations talks which had been promised by Johnson, and pointed to the rumoured upcoming Cabinet reshuffle. “Can the Prime Minister guarantee that the Foreign Secretary will finally be sacked in any reshuffle or does he tend to reward incompetence?”

In response Johnson said he was “always happy” to meet representatives of the Scottish Government, but failed to provide a date for any summit on the issue.

Johnson said 311 people eligible to come to the UK from Afghanistan through a special resettlement scheme are still in the Central Asian country.

“I repeat, we will do absolutely everything we can to ensure that those people get the safe passage that they deserve using the levers that I have described,” he went on.

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On the issue of unresolved queries about Afghanistan, the Tory leader told Blackford: “By close of play today, every single one of the emails from colleagues around this House will be answered and thousands have already been done.” This comment prompted groans from opposition benches.

Also during the debate, Johnson took questions from former PM Theresa May – who asked if withdrawing from Afghanistan had increased the terrorist threat.

Johnson replied: “We have no direct information as yet of any increase to the threat but I can assure her and the House that every effort will be made to make sure that our counter-terrorist agents have the resources they need to keep us safe.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer also criticised the UK Government’s handling of the situation, telling the House: “Because of this lack of leadership, the Government has left many behind to whom we owe so much.”

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He added: “The Government doesn’t even know how many UK nationals and Afghan nationals eligible under the Arap scheme have been left behind to the cruelty of the Taliban. A national disgrace.”

Starmer said there is no international agreement on the resettlement of Afghan refugees, adding: “We have a Prime Minister incapable of international leadership just when we needed it most.”

Starmer also called for British troops to receive a medal for their “remarkable” efforts via Operation Pitting to evacuate thousands of people from Afghanistan.