THE PRIME Minister Boris Johnson is facing increasing pressure over his role in the evacuation of animals from Afghanistan after reports claimed he did influence their removal despite denying it.

Paul "Pen"Farthing, who is a former Royal Marine from Dovercourt, launched a high-profile campaign to get his staff and hundreds of animals out of the country after the fall of Kabul.

The UK Government sponsored clearance for the charter flight, leading to allegations that animals had been prioritised over people in the exit effort.

No 10 has repeatedly said Mr Johnson had no involvement in pushing for help for the charity Nowzad.

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However, a whistleblower leaked email exchanges this Wednesday in which Foreign Office officials suggest the PM “authorised” their rescue, despite Mr Johnson previously saying it was “complete nonsense”.

The email was handed to the committee by Raphael Marshall, who worked for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) at the time, and has claimed the animals were evacuated following a direct instruction from the Prime Minister.

Chelmsford Weekly News: Paul 'Pen' FarthingPaul 'Pen' Farthing

But the Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey told LBC it is not uncommon for ministers to say Mr Johnson backs an issue when working on their own “pet projects"

Dominic Dyer, who led the political lobbying campaign in support of Nowzad, said Mr Johnson’s refusal to acknowledge his role in the evacuation had “tarnished” the campaign.

The evidence shows an official in the private office of Lord Goldsmith – a joint Foreign Office and environment minister – told colleagues working on the evacuation on August 25 that “the PM has just authorised their staff and animals to be evacuated”.

Lord Goldsmith tweeted: “I did not authorise and do not support anything that would have put animals’ lives ahead of peoples’.

“My position, which I made clear publicly, was that the UK should prioritise evacuating people.

“I never discussed the Nowzad charity or their efforts to evacuate animals with the PM.”

No 10 also issued a statement stressing that Mr Johnson had played “no role” in the UK armed forces rescue mission, Operation Pitting, or the evacuation of animals from the Taliban-captured territory.