Full width home advertisement

Post Page Advertisement [Top]

MORE emails emerge linking Boris Johnson and No10 to 'Pen' Farthing animal rescue: New documents reveal 'Dominic Raab also intervened' to help airlift charity that lobbied Carrie out of Kabul - but PM STILL insists claims are 'absolute rhubarb'

MORE emails emerge linking Boris Johnson and No10 to 'Pen' Farthing animal rescue: New documents reveal 'Dominic Raab also intervened' to help airlift charity that lobbied Carrie out of Kabul - but PM STILL insists claims are 'absolute rhubarb'

 Boris Johnson was mired in deepening chaos over help given to an animal charity that lobbied his wife today as fresh emails linked him to efforts to extract people and animals from Afghanistan emerged even as he was trying to deny involvement.

The PM branded claims he personally authorised a controversial airlift of animals for former soldier Paul Farthing and his Nowzad organisation as Kabul was abandoned to the Taliban as 'total rhubarb' today. 

Critics have raised concerns that animals were helped out of the country's at the expense of locals who had worked for the UK and faced bloody retribution from the Islamic extremists. 

The Prime Minister barked out the eccentric phrase to reporters after Foreign Office emails released yesterday showed that he did order official help to be directed to it.

But, as he was talking on a visit to North Wales today, further leaked correspondence from the same day last August was published, suggesting that then-foreign secretary Dominic Raab and No 10 were involved in helping Nowzad escape the chaos of the Taliban takeover.

'The FS (Raab) is seeking a steer from No 10 on whether to call them forward now,' said a fresh email obtained by the BBC's Newsnight.

Another email from Nigel Casey, the Prime Minister's special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, showed him asking the national security adviser 'to seek clear guidance for us from No 10 asap on what they would like us to do'. 

The roles of Mrs Johnson and her friend, the Foreign Office Minister Zac Goldsmith, have also been thrown into the spotlight.

Lord Goldsmith last night insisted that he did not discuss rescue efforts with the PM and appeared to try to apportion blame to senior officials from his team in the Foreign Office who wrote the emails released yesterday.  

Amid questions over the role of the PM's wife in the row and wider controversies, one of his former allies, ex-Brexit minister Lord Frost, appeared to criticise her influence today. 

Writing on Twitter he praised a newspaper column which suggested the PM distance himself from 'green fanatics' around him. Mrs Johnson is known to support environmental causes and works for a conservation charity.

Meanwhile, Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg sparked anger as he accused Labour of 'fussing about a few animals'. After his comments in Parliament, shadow minister Matt Western said 'it was the Prime Minister and his wife who were more ''worried about a few animals'' when they should have saved the brave interpreters who served our British forces over 20 years'.

One senior Tory MP told MailOnline on the Nowzad row: 'It's really offended people. I've got constituents who are outraged by it, with relatives in Afghanistan who didn't get out.

'People are pretty angry that animals were brought out before people.'

Mr Johnson's position was further weakened last night after it was revealed one of his top political aides tried to hire an aircraft to help get Nowzad out last August. 

Trudy Harrison, who was then parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to Mr Johnson, contacted a private charter company, with a source at the firm telling the broadcaster it was implicit that she was acting with the PM's backing.

The Prime Minister spoke out as he faced attacks over assistance offered to former soldier Paul Farthing and his Nowzad organisation as Kabul was abandoned to the Taliban.

The Prime Minister spoke out as he faced attacks over assistance offered to former soldier Paul Farthing and his Nowzad organisation as Kabul was abandoned to the Taliban.

As he was talking on a visit to North Wales today, further leaked correspondence from the same day last August was published, suggesting that then-foreign secretary Dominic Raab and No 10 were involved in helping Nowzad escape the chaos of the Taliban takeover

As he was talking on a visit to North Wales today, further leaked correspondence from the same day last August was published, suggesting that then-foreign secretary Dominic Raab and No 10 were involved in helping Nowzad escape the chaos of the Taliban takeover

Mr Johnson last year denied intervening after Nowzad contacted Mrs Johnson directly for help. But emails released yesterday showed that he did order official help to be directed to it.

Mr Johnson last year denied intervening after Nowzad contacted Mrs Johnson directly for help. But emails released yesterday showed that he did order official help to be directed to it.Lord Goldsmith, a Foreign Office minister and friend of Carrie Johnson, last night insisted that the Prime Minister was not involved in efforts to help Paul Farthing and his Nowzad organisation flee Kabul.

Lord Goldsmith, a Foreign Office minister and friend of Carrie Johnson, last night insisted that the Prime Minister was not involved in efforts to help Paul Farthing and his Nowzad organisation flee Kabul.

Carrie was lobbied personally by members of Nowzad in order to get them and their animals out of Kabul in August

Carrie was lobbied personally by members of Nowzad in order to get them and their animals out of Kabul in August

The Prime Minister has previously denied intervening to allow Paul 'Pen' Farthing and members of his Nawzad charity flee Kabul at the expense of locals as the extremists closed in last summer.

The Prime Minister has previously denied intervening to allow Paul 'Pen' Farthing and members of his Nawzad charity flee Kabul at the expense of locals as the extremists closed in last summer.Trudy Harrison, who was then parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to Mr Johnson, contacted a private charter company, with a source at the firm telling Sky it was implicit that she was acting with the PM's backing.

Trudy Harrison, who was then parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to Mr Johnson, contacted a private charter company, with a source at the firm telling Sky it was implicit that she was acting with the PM's backing.

Ms Harrison previously wrote to Mr Farthing, who ran the Nowzad shelter, to inform him the evacuation would go ahead.

Ms Harrison previously wrote to Mr Farthing, who ran the Nowzad shelter, to inform him the evacuation would go ahead.

The damning emails 

August 25, 12:20pm

From: Official in Lord Goldsmith's private office

To: FCDO official

Subject: Animal Charity for Evacuation from Kabul 

'[animal charity – name redacted] are a [details redacted] animal charity operating in Kabul and seeking to evacuation (sic) their [details redacted] members of staff (no animals). 

'Equivalent charity Nowzad, run by an ex-Royal Marine, has received a lot of publicity and the PM has just authorised their staff and animals to be evacuated, [animal charity – name redacted] are hoping to be treated in the same capacity (granted LOTR).'

August 25, 5.42pm 

From: FCDO official 

To: Foreign Secretary's Private Office  

Subject: Evacuation - LOTR. URGENT for FS (Foreign Secretary) views

'In light of the PM's decision earlier today to evacuate the staff of the Nowzad animal charity, the [animal charity – name redacted] (another animal rights NGO) is asking for agreement to the entry of [details redacted] staff, all Afghan nationals...

'Having regard to the Prime Minister's Nowzad decision, the Foreign Secretary might consider the [details redacted] vets and their dependents should be included. They might be able to get to the airport with their dependents in time.'  Ms Harrison previously wrote to Mr Farthing, who ran the Nowzad shelter, to inform him the evacuation would go ahead.

She told Sky News on Wednesday that she had contacted companies, and had told staff she was a PPS to Mr Johnson, but that she was acting as a constituency MP and Mr Johnson was not involved in plans around the evacuation. 

Meanwhile Lord Goldsmith, a former MP who was handed a peerage after losing his Richmond Park seat at the 2019 election, also rowed in behind the PM and his wife. 

Emails released yesterday by the Foreign Affairs Committee cited an official in his  office telling an official in his department 'the PM has just authorised their staff and animals to be evacuated'.

That official later sent another message to other mandarins, saying: 'Having regard to the Prime Minister's Nowzad decision, the Foreign Secretary might consider the [details redacted] vets and their dependents should be included. They might be able to get to the airport with their dependents in time,' the emails said.

But Goldsmith, a multi-millionaire who loaned his plush Spanish estate to the PM for a controversial holiday last year, said: 'I did not authorise and do not support anything that would have put animals' lives ahead of peoples'. 

'My position, which I made clear publicly, was that the UK should prioritise evacuating people. I never discussed the Nowzad charity or their efforts to evacuate animals with the PM.'

No 10 also sought to blame officials for making it seem as if the Prime Minister had been involved in the Nowzad decision.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: 'It's not uncommon in Whitehall for decisions to be interpreted or portrayed as coming directly from the Prime Minister, even when that's not the case.

'And it's our understanding that's what happened in this instance. We appreciate it was a frenetic time for those officials dealing with this situation, but that's our understanding of what's happened in this instance.'

Asked if it was concerning that officials would interpret decision-making as coming directly from the Prime Minister, even if he was not involved, the spokesman said: 'Like I say, we appreciate this was a frenetic time for those working at the forefront of this, who were dealing with thousands of emails a day on evacuation requests.'

Carrie controversies that have dogged the PM

The row over Paul Farthing is the latest crisis for Boris Johnson involving his wife. 

Mr Farthing's charity said it lobbied the Prime Minister's wife in August to help get him and their animals out of Kabul before the Taliban took over Afghanistan.

But Mrs Johnson, who has two children with the PM, has also had a key role in other rows that have engulfed his premiership.

Although she is a former head of communications for the Conservative Party, she currently has no official role in the Government.

Sacking of Dom Cummings

Mrs Johnson was implicated in the decision to fire Dominic Cummings as the PM's chief advisor in late 2020.  He left No10 that December after losing a power struggle with her to get the PM's ear.

His allies were alleged to have referred to her as 'Princess Nut Nut', which enraged Mr Johnson and upset her. She is a skilled networker and environmental campaigner. And her views on animal welfare and the early release of violent criminals influenced Mr Johnson's stance on the issues - frequently to Mr Cumming's frustration. There had long been annoyance over claims that Mrs Johnson was running a shadow PR operation, while she was said to have been incensed at the aggressive behaviour of Mr Cummings and his cadre. 

Downing Street flat redecoration

Carrie's dislike of the d├ęcor in the PM's official Downing Street flat is believed to have driven his desire to give the quarters a six-figure revamp.

A visitor to the flat is said to have described the interior left by Theresa May as a'John Lewis furniture nightmare' in Tatler.

The taxpayer funds a £30,000 annual allowance, but the redecoration - reportedly involving the company Soane, co-founded by designer Lulu Lytle - stretched beyond that.

Some reports suggest the upgrades hit the £200,000 mark, while a leaked email suggested Tory peer Lord Brownlow was making a £58,000 donation to the Conservatives 'to cover the payments the party has already made on behalf of the soon-to-be-formed 'Downing Street Trust'.

Partygate 

Carrie was dragged into the centre of Partygate this week over claims she organised a lockdown-busting birthday bash in June 2020. 

The PM's wife has already been placed at a number of contentious events in Downing Street during lockdown.

But on Monday ITV revealed she was behind a gathering in the Cabinet Room in No10 on June 19, 2020, to celebrate him turning 56.

They are said to have celebrated his birthday after his return from a visit to a school in Hertfordshire, where he had posed with his arms outstretched with children to show the importance of social distancing. 

The event saw staff join in with a chorus of happy birthday as the PM was presented with a Union Jack cake.  

Those present included Ms Lytle, though she said she happened to pass by on her way to speak to the PM.

Peers today called for Goldsmith to appear before them and explain what happened over the controversial airlift.

Labour former defence secretary Lord Browne of Ladyton said: 'Once again we're being treated to ministers in studios and in the House not facing up to the fact that the evidence is out there. These emails are there for people to see.'

Baroness Smith of Basildon, Labour leader in the Lords, added: 'If Lord Goldsmith has made a statement to this House that appears at the face of it to be at odds with the statement in an email from his private office that is now public, can he not come to the Lords to explain? I think that's a very straightforward request.'

Cabinet Office minister Lord True replied: 'It's for ministers to decide how to justify their actions and conduct, but I repeat that the assertions that have been made have been repudiated by Lord Goldsmith, by No 10 Downing Street and by the Defence Secretary.'

Labour branded Mr Johnson a 'pathological liar' last night, with shadow defence secretary John Healey saying: 'Once again, the Prime Minister has been caught out lying about what he has been doing and deciding. 

'He should never have given priority to flying animals out of Afghanistan while Afghans who worked for our armed forces were left behind.'

Today Standards Committee Chairman Chris Bryant said clarity was needed, telling Mr Rees-Mogg: 'There may be a perfectly innocent explanation - but it may be guilty as charged, mayn't it?'

Mr Mogg replied: 'Under Operation Pitting (the Kabul evacuation) our armed forces and civil service worked around the clock to evacuate 15,000 people, including around 8,300 British nationals and 5,000 people through the Afghan relocations policy.

'This was an incredibly successful and pressurised operation and our armed forces once again, showed what amazing things they can do when called upon to do it.

'And he is fussing about a few animals. I think it shows the level of seriousness which he characteristically brings to today's debate.'

Cabinet minister Therese Coffey today insisted Boris Johnson did not make any 'individual decisions' on Afghan evacuations despite a leaked email suggesting he had 'authorised' the removal of animals from Kabul.

The Work and Pensions Secretary told Sky News: 'A lot of people will claim that the PM is involved in supporting their particular pet projects but the PM said he wasn't involved in individual decisions, that is what the Defence Secretary, who was in charge of Operation Pitting overall, has said as well.'

But a Tory critical of the hurried withdrawal from Afghanistan  suggested the emails 'speak for themselves' and should be considered alongside other evidence.

Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and a former soldier who served in Afghanistan, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he 'can't really comment in any more detail' on the messages, which were released by the committee on Wednesday.

'The emails really speak for themselves and need to be read alongside other evidence,' he said.

Mr Tugendhat added that Defence Secretary Ben Wallace had given evidence that there had been 'no such order', and said he believes the minister has 'always spoken honestly' on the subject.

'You'll have to read the emails and see whether you think that there were others who were working around the system - that I can't answer,' he said.

'But it's certainly true that the Defence Secretary has been extremely clear on this and I definitely take him at his word.'Foreign Office emails published yesterday show officials discussing 'the PM's decision' to help Mr Farthing get onto some of the last planes out of the besieged city's airport.

Foreign Office emails published yesterday show officials discussing 'the PM's decision' to help Mr Farthing get onto some of the last planes out of the besieged city's airport.

What Boris said about Paul Farthing

August 18, 2021 

He told the Commons: 'Like many of us, I have been lobbied extensively about the excellent work done by Mr Pen Farthing. I am well aware of his cause and all the wonderful things that he has done for animals in Afghanistan. I can tell my hon. Friend that we will do everything that we can to help Mr Farthing and others who face particular difficulties, as he does ... without in any way jeopardising our own national security.' 

December 7

When the row over No10 influencing the decision to help Mr Farthing first broke in December, the PM used a television interview to deride the claim, saying: 'That's complete nonsense. But what I can tell you is that I think that the Operation Pitting to airlift 15,000 people out of Kabul in the way that we did over the summer was one of the outstanding military achievements of the last 50 years or more.'

January 26, 2022

Emails released today by the Foreign Affairs Committee cited an official in the office of Lord Goldsmith, Foreign Office minister and close friend of Mrs Johnson, telling an official in his department 'the PM has just authorised their staff and animals to be evacuated'. A second email said: 'Having regard to the Prime Minister's Nowzad decision, the Foreign Secretary might consider the [details redacted] vets and their dependents should be included. They might be able to get to the airport with their dependents in time.'

No comments:

Post a Comment

Bottom Ad [Post Page]