Boris Johnson was accused of lying about whether he authorized the airlifting of dogs and cats from Afghanistan. However, he dismissed these claims as ‘total Rhubarb’.
A senior Foreign Office official apologized to MPs for mislead them over the controversial airlifting of Afghan cats and dogs.
Sir Philip Barton acknowledged that he had given “inadvertently inaccurate answers”He told the Foreign Affairs Committee Nigel Casey, PM’s special representative for Afghanistan, that he hadn’t received any correspondence suggesting Boris Johnson authorised the evacuation of animals at the Nowzad charity.
Leaked emails reveal that Mr Casey asked for an official “to seek clear guidance for us from No10 asap on what they would like us to do”In the case
Johnson was accused of lying about whether he intervened in order to ex-marine Pen Farthing rescue the animals from Kabul after the Taliban took power last August.
The claims of a Foreign Office whistleblower were described by the PM as “total rhubarb”On Thursday, despite emails bombshelling staff claiming he had “authorised”This is the move.
This row casts new doubts on the integrity and competence of the PM as he waits to hear the Sue Gray report into Downing Street parties.
Sir Philip, permanent under-secretary for the Foreign Office, initially informed the committee that Mr Casey hadn’t received any correspondence regarding the PM’s involvement.
However, leaked emails by BBC show that Casey asked an official “to seek clear guidance for us from No 10 asap on what they would like us to do”In the case
Sir Philip wrote to Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of the committee, to apologize for his gift “inadvertently inaccurate answers”.
He stated that however “on the day the email was sent, Nigel was almost entirely focused, in his role as Gold in our crisis response, on the terrorist threat to the evacuation”.
Labour’s Chris Bryant, who sits on the committee, said: “The disaster of our withdrawal from Afghanistan requires the highest level of scrutiny.
“Parliament can only do this if there is transparency from Government.
“Since we published internal Foreign Office emails earlier this week, further emails have come to light that make it difficult to have confidence that we are getting full answers from the department.”
The chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan last year is being scrutinised by the Foreign Affairs Committee amid ongoing questions about the Government’s handling of the crisis.
MOD/AFP via Getty Images
Sir Philip was accused of being a liar when he admitted that he had been away for nearly two weeks following the fall of Kabul to the Taliban.
Dominic Raab, then Foreign Secretary, also failed to return from a family vacation in Crete.
As thousands fled the Taliban, the evacuation of Nowzad-cared animals caused a lot of controversy.
Downing Street repeatedly denied that it intervened to aid Mr Farthing. He was able to evacuate 173 pets and dogs using a plane paid for by donors in a high-profile campaign.
Raphael Marshall, a whistleblower, shared an email with MPs that showed a Foreign Office official stating that the Prime Minister had contacted him. “authorised”The animals were saved.
BBC also reported an email the following day stating that Dominic Raab (then foreign secretary) was in fact dead “seeking a steer from No 10 on whether”To contact Nowzad staff, please click here
Another email sent by Mr Casey shows him asking for a security officer “to seek clear guidance for us from No 10 asap on what they would like us to do”.
POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Mr Marshall, who was at the time working for the Foreign Office, submitted the emails to Commons inquiry. It alleges that Mr Johnson ordered the animals to be evacuated.
Jacob Rees Mogg was the Commons Leader and tried to downplay this dispute. “fussing about a few animals”.
Downing Street tried to claim that the officials involved in the first publication of correspondence may have been wrong.
The official spokesperson of the Prime Minister stated: “It’s not uncommon in Whitehall for a decision 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 understand that it was hectic for officials who were dealing with this matter.”
Mr Farthing submitted a five-page statement defending his actions to the committee, saying the animals were transported in the hold of the plane which is not safe for humans.
He said the charity had offered seats on the plane to British evacuees but their offer was turned down by the Government.