A former Royal Marine who was criticised after leaving an expletive-laden message for a Government aide amid the evacuation of 150 dogs and cats from Afghanistan has said he is “not worried about what some politician is saying about me”.
Paul “Pen” Farthing had apologised after a recording, obtained by The Times, captured him berating Peter Quentin, a special adviser to Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, and accusing the staffer of “blocking” efforts to arrange the evacuation flight.
Following the privately funded charter flight’s arrival at London’s Heathrow Airport Farthing, who was speaking from Oslo, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Monday he was “incredibly embarrassed about my language” in the voicemail.
A leaked audio recording reveals that former marine Pen Farthing told a government adviser he would “f***ing destroy” him if he did not arrange for Farthing's 168 dogs and cats to be evacuated from Afghanistan https://t.co/Xo7ZHRF1Va— The Sunday Times (@thesundaytimes) August 28, 2021
‘Not on my radar’
In an interview with the Daily Mail, he repeated his apology but appeared to shift the focus back to the Government and its allies’ withdrawal from Afghanistan.
He told the paper: “I’ve apologised for the language I used but that’s it.
“I’m not worried about what some politician is saying about me. That’s not on my radar. What’s on my radar is that this ill-thought out withdrawal has destroyed a country overnight and cost countless lives.”
Arrived Heathrow with partial success of #OpArk Mixed emotions & true deep feeling of sadness for Afghan today. Heathrow Ops centre, Border Force, HARC & Air Pets were all bloody amazing. Witnessed 1st hand the compassion Heathrow is showing Afghan refugees. ??❤️#AboveAndBeyond— Pen Farthing (@PenFarthing) August 29, 2021
Farthing had said he was still working to help evacuate 68 Nowzad animal shelter staff and family members, including 25 children and one new-born baby, from Afghanistan as part of his Operation Ark campaign.
The campaign became hugely topical on social media, with Wallace complaining it was distracting from the focus on evacuating the most vulnerable out of Afghanistan.
Wallace also said some of Farthing’s more militant supporters had “taken up too much time” of senior commanders.