Parliament to be recalled next week over deteriorating Afghanistan situation

Parliament will be recalled next week over the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, Downing Street sources have told Sky News.

MPs will return to Westminster to debate the government’s response to the crisis in the country, with Taliban fighters having entered the capital Kabul after a lightning advance through the country.

Live updates on Afghanistan as government promises peaceful transition of power

The timing of the recall will be confirmed with Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, a Number 10 source added.

MPs broke up for their summer recess on 22 July and had not been due to return until 6 September.

Calls for MPs to return to Westminster have been growing in recent days as the Taliban continue to make gains amid the withdrawal of US, UK and NATO troops.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was among those calling for such a move, saying earlier on Sunday: “The situation in Afghanistan is deeply shocking and seems to be worsening by the hour.

“The immediate priority now must be to get all British personnel and support staff safely out of Kabul.

“The government has been silent while Afghanistan collapses, which let’s be clear will have ramifications for us here in the UK.

“We need Parliament recalled so the government can update MPs on how it plans to work with allies to avoid a humanitarian crisis and a return to the days of Afghanistan being a base for extremists whose purpose will be to threaten our interests, values and national security.”

Reacting to news of the recall, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy told Sky News: “It’s extremely good news that the prime minister has decided that he is coming to the House of Commons.

“But I suspect that this has taken so long because the government doesn’t have a clear strategy to deal with this.

“That’s what we need to hear from the prime minister this week. We need to hear that imminently.”

Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, also backed calls for a recall of Parliament.

He has urged Boris Johnson to hold a “crisis meeting” with party leaders “given the tragedy unfolding before our eyes and the grave threat to national security this raises”.

“It is without doubt that we face a crucial point in history and, as a nation, we must act together before it is too late,” he said.

The UK is also currently evacuating British nationals and local translators – with 600 troops being sent to assist with this effort.

The Home Office said it is working to “protect British nationals and help former UK staff and other eligible people travel to the UK”.

According to The Sunday Telegraph, Britain’s ambassador to Afghanistan Sir Laurie Bristow is going to be flown out of the country by tonight.

Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, who is chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said it was “quite clear that the battle for Afghanistan is now lost”.

“It’s been an abject defeat and the United States and United Kingdom have been routed,” he told Sky News.

“This is pretty stunning, frankly.

“It was a decision we took to withdraw and to announce that we wouldn’t be willing to fight, so perhaps it’s hardly surprising.

“What we’re now seeing is what we fought 20 years to stop, which is a Taliban victory in Afghanistan.”

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