Downing Street Denies Boris Johnson Intervened On Behalf Of Afghan Dogs

·2 min read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson with his own dog Dilyn. (Photo: Christopher Furlong via Getty Images)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson with his own dog Dilyn. (Photo: Christopher Furlong via Getty Images)

Downing Street has slapped down claims that the prime minister intervened to rescue dogs during the evacuation of Afghanistan.

No10 said “at no point” did the PM intervene in the evacuation of animals as the country fell to the Taliban and the allegation was “entirely untrue”.

During the fall of Kabul earlier this year, the UK government came under fire when around 150 dogs in Pen Farthing’s Nowzad animal shelter were evacuated while people who helped the UK with its mission struggled to escape.

Now a whistleblower has alleged that soldiers were put at risk to help rescue animals from the charity after a request from Boris Johnson.

Former foreign office official Raphael Marshall claimed there was “an instruction from the prime minister to use considerable capacity to transport Nowzad’s animals”.

However, the prime minister’s official spokesman hit back on Tuesday: “At no point did the prime minister intervene.

“We’ve always prioritised people over animals, as we’ve said both during and subsequently.”

Pressed on whether the PM directly intervened to assist shelter Farthing and his staff leave the country, he replied: “No, he didn’t instruct officials to take any particular course of action on that issue.”

The spokesman insisted Johnson’s focus was on saving and evacuating “as many people as possible”.

“That was the instruction that he gave to the whole of government,” he added.

He also denied that the PM’s wife Carrie Johnson intervened, adding: “That claim is untrue. Neither the prime minister nor Mrs Johnson were involved.”

The spokesman said that giving clearance for a charter flight to rescue the “in no way distracted” from their commitment to evacuate people .

He added: “They departed on their own charter flight right towards the end of the evacuation window because we were prioritising people over animals.”

Asked on Sky News about the claims, deputy prime minister Dominic Raab also said: “That’s just not accurate. We did not put the welfare of animals above individuals.”

Farthing spoke out this morning, tweeting: “Let’s make this bloody crystal clear and on the record. Not one single British soldier was used to get me or the Nowzad dogs and cats in Kabul airport.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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