Everything you need to know about Tom Tugendhat

Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Tom Tugendhat has criticised the failure to plan for the UK’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The Conservative frontbencher defended the MoD and civil servants over the chaotic scenes as thousands of civilians, many who had worked closely with UK forces, officials and charities, attempted to flee the war-torn country April 2021.

But his criticism of the failure to plan ahead for the evacuation of 15,000 locals who had aided the British mission, leaving many stranded in the capital, Kabul, has been scathing.

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POLITICAL CAREER

Politically ambitions: Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat

Tom Tugendhat, 48, was first elected as the Conservative Party MP for Tonbridge & Malling in Kent in 2015 being re-elected in 2019 with a majority of 26,941.

He is currently the Chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee and has been a regular critic of China in recent years. In 2021 was banned by the Chinese government from visiting the country.

EDUCATION AND EARLY CAREER

Tugendhat read theology at Bristol University, and completed a Masters’ degree in Islamic Studies at Cambridge University.

He worked as a journalist in Beirut, and set up a public relations company in the country. Returning to the UK, he worked as a management consultant and then joined the Territorial Army.

MILITARY SERVICE

Tugendhat served in the army from 2003 until 2013, and was involved in a number of operations on the front line in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

With a working knowledge of Pashto, the language of southern Afghanistan, he was involved in the creation of the first non-warlord administration in Helmand since the Soviet invasion in 1979.

Before becoming an MP he was the military assistant to the Chief of the Defence Staff.

BACKGROUND AND AMBITIONS

Tugendhat’s father is the High Court Judge Sir Michael Tugendhat and his uncle is the Conservative politician and former EU Commissioner, Christopher Tugendhat.

He is married with two children and is seen by Westminster-watchers as politically very ambitious. He was the first MP to openly declare himself as a potential candidate to replace Boris Johnson in the midsts of the partygate affair.

Tugendhat has had a strained relationship with Boris Johnson, and backed Michael Gove in the 2019 Conservative Party leadership election.

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