Kirstie Allsopp has branded Boris Johnson “disgraceful” for not meeting the husband of a British woman jailed in Iran who is fighting for her innocence.
The Foreign Secretary has come under pressure over the plight of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe after he told a parliamentary committee that she was training journalists - rather than being on holiday with her 22-month-old daughter Gabriella - when she was arrested and jailed in Iran 18 months ago.
It emerged on Thursday that Iranian state TV had framed his ‘false’ comment about her as a “confession”.
But on BBC’s Question Time, the Tory Cabinet minister was condemned by TV presenter Allsopp less for his recent error and more for the fact he has not met the husband battling for justice for his wife.
“I don’t know whether the Iranian Ambassador watches Question Time, I wouldn’t want to take any risks, and I mean that very seriously.
“I have followed this case since the very beginning. The plight of Richard, Nazanin and their little girl Gabriella haunts me. That little girl, who can’t come home to the UK because all that keeps her mother sane is her visits, and a father who hasn’t hugged his own daughter in 18 months because he can’t go to Iran.
“The fact that Boris Johnson has not seen him, given him 10 minutes of his time in the last 18-months is, frankly, disgraceful.”
Johnson’s remarks led to the 37-year-old making an unscheduled court appearance on Saturday where Johnson’s comment was used as evidence against her on a fresh charge of propaganda against the regime.
Richard Ratcliffe has made an emotional appeal to Johnson to focus on bringing his wife home.
Ratcliffe urged Johnson to “make good the promise he made to go and visit Nazanin in Iran” in a vlog for HuffPost UK.
Ratcliffe refused to be drawn into the row over forcing Johnson’s resignation, instead challenging the foreign secretary to help reunite his family for Christmas.
On Thursday, the Foreign Secretary said he hoped to meet Ratcliffe for the first time before he visits Iran in the next few weeks.