Foreign Office chief who misled MPs over Johnson's role in Nowzad airlift says sorry
The Guardian|January 29, 2022
A senior official at the Foreign Office has apologised for misleading MPs over whether Boris Johnson intervened in the evacuation of animals from Kabul during the chaotic retreat from Afghanistan last August.
Matthew Weaver

Sir Philip Barton, the Foreign Office’s permanent undersecretary, had told the foreign affairs committee that Nigel Casey, the prime minister’s special representative for Afghanistan, had not received any correspondence referring to an intervention by Johnson in the evacuation of animals from the Nowzad charity which were airlifted out of Kabul.

But emails revealed by Newsnight showed Casey did “seek clear guidance for us from No 10 asap on what they would like us to do” in the case.

Barton has now written to the committee’s chairman, the Tory MP Tom Tugendhat, to apologise for giving “inadvertently inaccurate answers”.

He said that “on the day the email was sent, Nigel was almost entirely focused in his role as Gold in our crisis response on the terrorist threat to the evacuation”.

Last month, in evidence to the committee, Barton was challenged about a letter sent by the MP Trudy Harrison, the parliamentary private secretary to Johnson , to the Nowzad founder Pen Farthing setting out confirmation from the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence that the animal evacuation flight could take place.

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