Pen Farthing apologises for ‘incredibly embarrassing language’ in voicemail
Paul “Pen” Farthing has apologised for his ‘incredibly embarrassing language’ used in a voicemail left to a defence secretary adviser over the Government’s handling of the Kabul evacuation. The former Royal Marine, who founded an animal shelter in Afghanistan, admitted his emotions ‘got the better of him’ while trying to evacuate around 170 dogs and cats to the UK. He arrived at London’s Heathrow Airport in a privately funded charter flight at about 7.30am on Sunday, following his Operation Ark campaign to get workers and animals from the Nowzad shelter out of the country.
: Mum forced to leave daughter behind for a GBP3,500 holiday after passport mix-up But earlier in the week, a recording, obtained by The Times, captured Mr Farthing scolding Peter Quentin, a special adviser to Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, accusing him of “blocking” efforts to arrange the evacuation flight. The 52-year-old reportedly left Mr Quentin, who served in the Army in Afghanistan, a voice recording stating that he would “spend the rest of my time f*****g destroying you on social media and every other f*****g platform I can find”.
On Monday, Mr Farthing told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I’m incredibly embarrassed about my language, I do apologise to everybody who’s listened to that.
‘I’m incredibly embarrassed about my language’ (Image: ITV)
“I was at the lowest point I could possibly be. I understand how the world works but emotions got the better of me, so for all those who had to listen to that I do apologise for my language. “I should not have said it like that, but the sentiment, yes, I was just incredibly upset, angry, frustrated, it was the lowest point.
I had no other option, I didn’t know what else to do. “So that’s why you’ve probably heard some colourful language.”
Pen Farthing details ‘hardest decision’ in his life to leave staff in Afghanistan and blames Joe Biden (Image: ITV)
Mr Farthing’s Operation Ark campaign became hugely topical on social media, but Mr Wallace had complained it was distracting from the focus on evacuating the most vulnerable out of Afghanistan. Mr Wallace previously said Ministry of Defence staff had faced abuse from Mr Farthing’s supporters.
However, Mr Farthing dismissed claims that he was helped by the UK Government to get into Kabul airport with his animals. He said: “Nobody in the British Government facilitated my entry into that airport – I did that with the Taliban. “I came up to the British checkpoint, that was the first time – and this is well into the airport, the Taliban and British are stood there, there’s some barbed wire separating them – that was the first time I spoke to any British people.
“So whoever is making any accusations or any comments needs to actually have been stood there on the ground to see how I got into that airport.
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Get the latest updates from across Greater Manchester direct to your inbox with the free MEN newsletter You can sign up very simply by following the instructions here “Nobody facilitated my entry… any interpreters or anybody else, there was me and the truck full of dogs and cats, which went into a cargo hold where you cannot put people.”
Mr Farthing added he was the only person on the flight but he was told there was “enough capacity” to get the remaining people in the airport out. He said: “I was probably like the last person to enter that airport – it was closed. Americans, the British, had obviously stopped taking people in because there had to be a point where they stopped taking people in.
“So they assured me they had enough capacity for everybody who was inside the airport.” All of the almost 100 dogs and 70 cats on the flight were “healthy”, with the dogs placed in kennels, according to Dominic Dyer, an animal welfare campaigner and supporter of Mr Farthing. Foreign Office minister James Cleverly insisted the Government had prioritised the evacuation of people over pets.
He told LBC Radio: “We have always prioritised evacuating people over evacuating animals. “Mr Farthing is a British national, he had the opportunity to leave Afghanistan much earlier. His staff are enrolled on to the scheme by which Afghans that worked with the British were able to be evacuated.
“But as I have said, we have always prioritised the evacuation of people.”