The UK government has denied that embattled Prime Minister Boris Johnson had prioritised pets over people in the chaotic evacuation of Afghanistan as Kabul fell to the Taliban.
“The PM didn’t make any individual decisions about evacuations,” Cabinet Minister Therese Coffey told Sky News on Thursday.
“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,” she said.
Foreign Ministry emails from August, newly released by a parliamentary committee, showed diplomats referring to a decision taken by Johnson to evacuate the staff and animals of the Nowzad animal charity.
Johnson at the time denied insisting on preferential treatment for the charity, which sheltered dogs and cats in Afghanistan and was run by a media-savvy former soldier, Paul “Pen” Farthing.
“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,” one email said, referring to other charities wanting the same treatment.