Boris Johnson expected to make first public appearance in 12 days for PMQs

PUBLISHED: 11:03 08 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:08 08 January 2020

US President Donald Trump (front) with Dominic Raab (centre left) and Boris Johnson (centre right) at a Nato summit. Photograph: PA/Stefan Rousseau.

US President Donald Trump (front) with Dominic Raab (centre left) and Boris Johnson (centre right) at a Nato summit. Photograph: PA/Stefan Rousseau.

PA Wire/PA Images

Boris Johnson is expected to make his first public appearance in 12 days for Prime Minister’s Questions.

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The prime minister has been under fire for failing to appear in the House of Commons over the Iran situation, with Jeremy Corbyn accusing him of "hiding behind" the defence secretary Ben Wallace on Tuesday.

Johnson has not been spotted in public since heading to the Caribbean on holiday on December 27th - spending a new year break on the private island of Mustique until the weekend.

He reportedly chaired a meeting of the National Security Council on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the issue and held a cabinet meeting earlier in the day.

The PMQs appearance comes after the Defence Secretary said the government was putting in place "urgent measures" to protect British nationals and interests amid rising tensions in the region.

"At the same time, defence are changing the readiness of our forces - including helicopters and ships on stand-by to assist if the need arises," he said.

"As part of prudent planning, a small team has been sent to the region to provide additional situational awareness and contingency planning assistance."

The Guardian reported that "several hundred" troops had been put on standby of 48 hours for deployment in or near Iraq, who could be used to evacuate forces if the security situation in the country worsens.

Meanwhile, Corbyn condemned Gen Soleimani's killing once again in an interview with Sky News.

He said: "To assassinate an official of a foreign government in a third country, in this case Iraq, is illegal under any law and the US, if it wants the world to stand by international law, must stand by international law itself.

"This is a provocative act which has made the whole world a much more dangerous place."

Corbyn was repeatedly asked whether he would label the targeted general as a terrorist. He replied: "Soleimani is the head of special forces of Iran - they obviously operate in all kinds of places that you and I would not agree with or want.

"That is not the point. The point is it's an illegal act that took place and if we want to end illegal acts by anybody; you don't commit them yourself."

The Labour leader later reiterated his criticism of Johnson for failing to address MPs and added: "He is the prime minister of this country, he has to be held to account for what his government says and does; he has to be held to account for his own actions by coming to our parliament to answer questions."

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