UK foreign minister Dominic Raab's bodyguard suspended after gun reportedly left on plane

A bodyguard tasked with protecting British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab has been suspended after he allegedly left a loaded gun on a plane. 

A cleaner at London's Heathrow Airport discovered the semi-automatic Glock 19 pistol on a United Airlines plane, according to a report by The Sun, which had just landed after an overnight flight from Washington DC.

Raab had travelled back to Britain after meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other politicians to discuss Brexit.

"We are aware of the incident on a flight into the UK on Friday, September 18 and we are taking this matter extremely seriously," London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

"The officer involved has since been removed from operational duties whilst an internal investigation into the circumstances is taking place."

The officer had been organising passports when he took off his holster, The Sun reports, leaving the pistol on his seat before escorting the Foreign Secretary off the flight.

Speaking to the BBC's Today programme, Former Met chief superintendent Nick Aldworth said while the incident was uncommon, mistakes can invariably happen to anyone.

"It happens because human beings are in the system and human beings operate under an enormous amount of stress sometimes, particularly when they are managing armed operations or in the middle of an armed operation," he said.

"This appears to be an unfortunate lapse in concentration for which the officer will pay a price in their career."

UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab.
UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab. Photo credit: Getty

A police spokesman told Reuters he could not comment on the details of The Sun's report.

The incident marks the second time a British officer has been suspended under similar circumstances this year. In February, a bodyguard of former Prime Minister David Cameron was investigated for reportedly mislaying both his firearm and Cameron's passport in a plane toilet.

The gun was found by a passenger on a British Airways flight from New York to London.

Reuters / Newshub.