With Sue Gray keeping the lobby on tenterhooks, it's a good day to bury bad news. Earlier today, the Foreign Office quietly divulged emails that appear to confirm that, contrary to the Prime Minister's claims, he did intervene to authorise the evacuation of Pen Farthing's animal evacuation out of Afghanistan. The campaign to get Farthing's animals out was of course led by Dominic Dyer — a friend of Carrie Johnson, who features in her cover picture on Twitter.
Released to the Foreign Affairs Committee, the files indicate Boris Johnson ordered the rescue of the animals from Kabul, despite the crisis on the ground and repeated denials to the contrary. An email from one Foreign Office official working on the evacuation was sent to the Foreign Secretary's private office and the special advisers' team on 25 August.
It specifically refers to 'the PM's decision earlier today to evacuate the staff of the Nowzad animal charity' and gives advice to the Foreign Secretary on how to enact 'the Prime Minister's Nowzad decision' and transfer the animals out of Afghanistan.
Another email, from a different Foreign Office official in the private office of Zac Goldsmith, makes the same point. Dated 25 August, it confirms that the Prime Minister authorised the controversial 'pets before people' evacuation. Goldsmith is a passionate environmental campaigner and a close friend of Carrie Johnson.
It's worth remembering of course that both Boris Johnson and his No. 10 team repeatedly denied reports he personally had authorised the evacuation, which diverted much needed resources away from those Afghans in peril. The Prime Minister himself dismissed the claims as 'complete nonsense' while on 7 December his spokesman responded to a letter from the PM's aide Trudy Harrison MP indicating Johnson's involvement by claiming:
“Neither the PM nor Mrs Johnson were involved. This letter was nothing to do with Ms Harrison’s role as the PM’s PPS, she was acting in her capacity as a constituency MP.
Good luck to Boris Johnson's spinners at the next lobby briefing then.