Dominic Raab did not impress anyone online when he tried to defend his decision to go on holiday by claiming “the sea was actually closed” at the time.
Raab has been in hot water ever since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan on August 16 and critics are now mocking his answers to questions about his Crete holiday.
Pressed on his decision to take a break, he told Sky News on Wednesday: “I was engaged in meetings. The stuff about me lounging about on the beach all day is just nonsense.
“The stuff about me on a paddle board – nonsense.
“The sea was actually closed, it was a red notice.”
While it’s likely he meant to say “beach” rather than sea, Twitter was quick to pick up on his error.
Times Radio host Matt Chorley tweeted: ”‘The sea was actually closed’ was [what] really got me.’”
Another Twitter account answered: “It’s a common Tory tactic [to] make up an easily disprovable detail to make an actual allegation seem less credible.”
A different user asked: “Could the clumsiness of this wording be because Dominic Raab is making it up as he goes along?”
Another critic claimed: ”[I] am not sure ‘the sea was actually closed’ is really the defence you seem to think it is for choosing not to come home and deal with an international crisis, involving British civilians and dependents.”
Raab has been defending himself after holidaymakers alleged they had seen him on the beach in Crete.
One told The Telegraph: “We were surprised to see Dominic Raab lounging around on holiday on the very day Kabul was falling into Taliban hands.”
But the Foreign Office has defended him, and said it was “wholly inaccurate” to suggest he had been on the beach for a significant time period.
However, one person on Twitter claimed: “I’m in Gouves, Crete. I can categorically state that the sea was NOT closed. I went swimming everyday and the flags were definitely green.”
Another replied: “Dominic Raab must have been so busy working in the hotel that he mistook a green flag for a red one when he looked out of [the] window!!”
There have been calls for Raab to resign of his mishandling of the Afghanistan crisis, which began when Nato forces – led by the US – started to withdraw from the war-torn country and the terror group, the Taliban, filled the power vacuum.
The foreign secretary was reportedly advised by No.10 officials to return from his holiday on August 13, but he decided to stay an extra two days after that, having secured prime minister Boris Johnson’s approval.
One Twitter user started using sea-related puns and joked: “Dom waveing bye bye to his career? The tide is turning. Even he should sea that now.”
It has also emerged that Raab did not call his Afghan counterpart to help evacuate interpreters while he was in Crete.
SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford claimed reports of the foreign secretary’s failure to return from holiday “makes it impossible for Dominic Raab to stay in office”.
Raab said last week that he had no intention of resigning.