In documents released today by the Foreign Affairs committee today the Permanent Under-Secretary for the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, Sir Philip Barton has said he was unaware of any personal intervention by the prime minister in the Nowzad evacuation.
An email released by the committee yesterday addressed from one FCDO official to a colleague reads: “the PM has just authorised their staff and animals to be evacuated”.
No 10 has repeatedly sought to deny such claims, with an official spokesperson saying back in August that the “claim is untrue. This was an operational decision. Neither the PM nor Mrs Johnson were involved.”
In fresh correspondence published this morning, the committee is shown to have asked if Sir Philip has “any reason to believe that there was support for this decision in No. 10, or from the Prime Minister? Do you have any reason to believe that FCDO staff attributed this decision to the Prime Minister?”
“I am not aware of that, beyond speculation in the public domain”, Sir Philip told the committee.
The committee also asked if the prime minister’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Nigel Casey had received any correspondence referring to Mr Johnson’s intervention in the Nowzad case, to which the committee received the response: “No”.
Dominic Dyer, a campaigner for the Nowzad charity founded by Farthing, has insisted that Carrie Johnson encouraged her husband to speak with defence secretary Ben Wallace in the lead up to the authorisation of Farthing’s evacuation from Afghanistan.
In December it came to light that Boris Johnson’s former permanent private secretary was involved in the evacuation of Pen Farthing’s staff and animals from Afghanistan, despite the claims being denied by 10 Downing Street the same day (7 December).
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Therese Coffey defended the prime minister’s previous claims on this morning’s broadcast round, stressing that he did not make “individual decisions” on the Afghanistan evacuations.
“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,” she explained.