Defence Sec DENIES claims Boris Johnson intervened to save Pen Farthing and pets from Kabul despite leaked emails


BEN Wallace has denied fresh claims Boris Johnson had personally intervened to rescue dozens of pets from Afghanistan.

Foreign Office emails leaked today suggest the PM DID step in to save Pen Farthing’s dogs during the Kabul airlifts – despite previously insisting he had nothing to do with it.

Animal lover Pen Farthing in Kabul
Ben Wallace in The Hague this morning

An email published by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee

The messages sparked accusations Mr Johnson lied about his involvement and prioritised animals over desperate Afghans for evacuation.

But the Defence Secretary backed his boss and insisted the PM never once waded into the row.

Interrupting a visit to Nato HQ in Brussels, where allies are planning for a war in Ukraine, he said the emails “don’t show the reality”.

He said: “There was only one person who was responsible overall for evacuating people from Afghanistan and that was me.

“At no stage did the Prime Minister ring me, talk to me, engage me, lobby me to get those pets out of Afghanistan.

“In fact, he supported me when I took a decision to put people before pets.”

Mr Johnson has said claims he stepped in to support Mr Farthing was “complete nonsense”.

But questions were asked today as an email showed an official working for FCO minister Lord Goldsmith saying the “PM has just authorised” Mr Farthing’s “staff and animals to be evacuated”.

Sent on August 25 at the height of the Afghanistan evacuation effort, it adds that Mr Farthing campaign had gained public support. 

Labour’s shadow defence secretary John Healey said: “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.”

During the crisis ex-Royal Marine Mr Farthing claimed Mr Wallace was blocking a private evacuation flight for him, his staff, and dozens of dogs from Afghanistan.

The animal activist and his allies attacked Mr Wallace personally and threatened to destroy the career of his special adviser. 

Mr Farthing was eventually granted access for his flight to land before the British withdrawal. 

Back in the Commons yesterday Mr Wallace revealed Mr Farthing had not even requested access for his plane at the time he was throwing out wild accusations against the Ministry of Defence.

He told MPs: “It’s a complete fallacy that the MOD, me or my adviser was blocking a flight – because there hadn’t been a flight request.”

He fumed that the “stress and abuse” became “a whole distraction to saving some very desperate people”.

The Defence Sec also blasted Kabul dog-lover Pen Farthing for fueling sick death threats against him and his staff.

He said he was told to “watch your back c***”, “you’ve got a price on your head” and that a “death warrant” had been signed for his closest aide. 

Boris Johnson at PMQs this afternoon