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Boris Johnson says suggestion he intervened in animal airlift is ‘total rhubarb’

BORIS JOHNSON SAID TODAY that claims he arranged for animals to be transported out of Afghanistan are “totally rhubarb”.

In yet another issue this month, the British Prime Minister denied approving the evacuation of cats and dogs from the Nowzad charity in Kabul.

He rejected sanctioning their rescue in the final days of the campaign, leaving many behind to flee the Taliban.

The Prime Minister had just “authorised” the animals’ rescue, according to a newly-discovered email shared with a Commons investigation.

« It’s not uncommon in Whitehall for a decision to be perceived or reported as coming directly from the Prime Minister even when it doesn’t, and our understanding is that’s what happened in this instance, » said the Prime Minister’s official spokeswoman. We understand the officials dealing with this circumstance had a hectic time.”

Affirmative: “I can’t say which official was wrong, but that’s our understanding of what happened.”

Cabinet Minister Therese Coffey said the official was acting improperly.

“I’ve seen a screenshot of an email,” he told LBC. People often say in Parliament and Government that their pet projects are priorities because the PM says so.

“The PM had no role in individual evacuations, and the Defence Secretary (Ben Wallace) indicated he was in command of the overall rescue operation,” he added.

Mr. Rees-Mogg dismissed calls for a discussion as “fussing over a few animals”.

Emails

According to emails obtained by the Foreign Affairs Committee, a Foreign Office official told colleagues on August 25 that “the PM has just authorised their workers and animals to be evacuated”.

Earlier today, the PM decided to evacuate the Nowzad animal charity personnel.

Raphael Marshall, a Foreign Office employee at the time, claimed the animals were evacuated on Mr Johnson’s direction, despite the Prime Minister dismissing any notion he personally acted as “total rubbish”.

In a previously disclosed letter, Trudy Harrison, then Johnson’s parliamentary private secretary, hinted at involvement.

On August 25, Copeland’s MP wrote to Nowzad founder Paul “Pen” Farthing to confirm the evacuation.

Marshall said No 10’s argument she was operating in her position as a constituency MP was “not credible” because the charity has no connection to Cumbria.

“A request for Nowzad’s staff evacuation from Ms Harrison in her position as MP for Copeland would have
Harrison also admitted calling a private charter company to get a jet for Nowzad’s workers and animals.
ignored.”
broadcasters in
He called him “the boss” and “the boss” frequently, according to an anonymous charter employee.

“I was aiding Pen Farthing and Nowzad as a constituency MP in response to many Copeland people’ requests,” Harrison said.

Sir Philip Barton, the Foreign Office’s chief civil servant, said he was “not aware” of any assistance from No 10 for the animal airlift.

Campaign

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said Johnson had “no role” in authorising individual evacuations during Operation Pitting.

“I don’t know where they came from, but they certainly don’t depict the reality, which was: I was in control, the Prime Minister never asked me, it was nonsense,” Wallace told broadcasters.

As Kabul fell to the Taliban, Farthing launched a high-profile effort to evacuate his personnel and animals via a donated plane. The British Government supported the charter flight, leading to accusations that animals were prioritised over people.

To “put pressure on him”, Farthing ally Dominic Dyer earlier said he met with ministers and Mr Johnson’s wife Carrie.

“I’m not sure why he didn’t believe he could explain his involvement in August at the end of this operation,” he added on Thursday.

Shadow defence secretary John Healey said: “Once again the PM has been caught lying about his actions and decisions.

Leaving Afghans who worked for our armed forces behind should never have been a priority.

Military airlifts made Hanson Aggregates in Conwy, North Wales, “proud”.