New whistleblower says Boris ordered help for Kabul animal charity

Boris Johnson accused of personally ordering help for Nowzad charity evacuation from Kabul by a SECOND Government whistleblower who accuses senior mandarins of having ‘intentionally lied’ to MPs probing assistance for group lobbied by PM’s wife

  • PM  has denied personally intervened to help Paul Farthing’s Nowzad charity 
  • Today Josie Stewart said it was widespread ‘knowledge’ he was behind aid 
  • Said it was mentioned on Teams, in calls and in emails with senior staff 
  • She backed ‘majority of substance and all of the essence’ of first whistleblower
  • Accused FCDO mandarins of having ‘intentionally lied’ to MPs to back the PM 

Boris Johnson is facing fresh questions over help given an animal charity that lobbied his wife Carrie after a second whistleblower said he was behind efforts to get staff out of the fall of Kabul.

The Prime Minister has denied that he personally intervened to help Paul Farthing’s Nowzad organisation flee the advance of the Taliban last year.

But a senior Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office mandarin effectively ended her career this morning by publicly accusing Mr Johnson of involvement. 

In evidence published by the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Josie Stewart – who has worked for the FCDO since 2015 including for the British Embassy in Kabul – said: ‘It was widespread ”knowledge” in the FCDO crisis centre that the decision on Nowzad’s Afghan staff came from the Prime Minister.’

Ms Stewart, who volunteered to work on the response to the fall on Kabul, said: ‘I saw messages to this effect on Microsoft Teams, I heard it discussed in the crisis centre including by senior civil servants, and I was copied on numerous emails which clearly suggested this and which no-one, including Nigel Casey acting as ‘Crisis Gold’, challenged.’

She said she agreed with ‘the majority of the substance and all of the essence’ of evidence given to MPs by whistleblower Raphael Marshall last year. 

And she accused FCDO permanent secretary Sir Philip Barton and Nigel Casey, the Prime Minister’s special representative for Afghanistan, of having ‘intentionally lied’ to the Commons committee when they defended the PM. 

Carrie was lobbied personally by members of Nowzad in order to get them and their animals out of Kabul in August

The Prime Minister has previously denied intervening to allow Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing and members of his Nawzad charity flee Kabul at the expense of locals as the extremists closed in last summer.

Downing Street has repeatedly denied intervening in any individual cases in the final days of the mission as thousands of people who sought to flee the Taliban were left behind.

But an email shared with a Commons inquiry last year showed a Foreign Office official saying in August that the Prime Minister had just ‘authorised’ the animals’ rescue.

And the BBC reported another email from the same day saying then-foreign secretary Dominic Raab was ‘seeking a steer from No 10 on whether’ to call Nowzad staff forward.

Ms Stewart said emails in her inbox referenced ‘the PM’s decision on Nowzad’.

Her revelations follow evidence given by Mr Marshall, who also worked for the FCDO.

The Prime Minister has denied direct involvement in the evacuation of animals from the charity.

Ms Stewart, who said she leaked information to a BBC journalist such was her concern about the handling of the Afghanistan crisis, said she accepted that speaking out would likely mean she lost her job.

She said: ‘I feel a strong sense of moral injury for having been part of something so badly managed and so focused on managing reputational risk and political fallout rather than the actual crisis and associated human tragedy.’

Ms Stewart said statements provided to the committee by ministers and senior civil servants had been ‘misleading’.

She said she did not believe there was any deliberate decision ‘to prioritise animals over people’ but that ‘the decision to approve Nowzad’s Afghan staff under LOTR (leave outside the rules) was not in line with policy, as there was no reason to believe these people should be prioritised under the agreed criteria’.

She said although letters from Sir Philip Barton, the Foreign Office’s permanent under-secretary, and Foreign Office minister Lord Ahmad were ‘factually accurate’ when they said ‘Nowzad staff were included by officials in the potential cohorts to be considered for evacuation if space became available under LOTR’, she said this was ‘misleading’.

‘From what I heard and saw, Nowzad staff were included as a late addition only in response to this ‘PM decision’. This occurred against the previous judgment of officials,’ she said.

Sir Philip Barton (pictured) told the Foreign Affairs Select Committee that Nigel Casey, the PM’s special representative for Afghanistan, had not received any correspondence referring to Boris Johnson allegedly intervening in the Nowzad case

She added: ‘I do not find it credible that Philip Barton, or those who drafted his letter dated January 17 2022, would not have been aware of this.’

Ms Stewart accused Sir Philip and Nigel Casey, the Prime Minister’s special representative for Afghanistan, of having ‘intentionally lied’ to the Commons committee.

She said she ‘cannot fathom’ why they would do so but that ‘they must have done so’, adding: ‘I have tried to imagine but cannot conceive of any way this could have been an honest mistake.’

The two men are due to face the Foreign Affairs Committee this afternoon. 

Sir Philip apologised to MPs in January for ‘inadvertently’ misleading them over the row about the evacuation of animals from Afghanistan. 

He told the Foreign Affairs Select Committee that Mr Casey had not received any correspondence referring to Boris Johnson allegedly intervening in the Nowzad case.   

But emails revealed by the BBC’s Newsnight programme showed Mr Casey asked an official ‘to seek clear guidance for us from No 10 asap on what they would like us to do’ in the case.  

Sir Philip, the Foreign Office’s permanent under-secretary, wrote to the committee’s chairman, Tory MP Tom Tugendhat, to apologise for having given ‘inadvertently inaccurate answers’. 

However, 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’. 

Mr Johnson has denied claims he personally authorised the evacuation of animals being looked after by the Nowzad charity, labelling the allegation ‘total rhubarb’, as the row over who gave the airlift the green light continues to rumble on. 

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