Charlotte Hawkins in fiery row with Wallace over Pen Farthing ‘misinformation’ claim
GMB presenters argue with Ben Wallace over Kabul misinformation
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Pen Farthing has been regularly joining Good Morning Britain this week to explain the ongoing situation and escape attempts from the ground in Kabul, Afghanistan. Desperate to flee the Afghan capital with the staff and animals from his charity, Pen and his friend Dominic Dyer have told ITV hosts the struggles they’ve had trying to get a flight out of the Taliban-controlled country. However, when Dominic appeared alongside Alex Beresford and Charlotte Hawkins once more on Friday to insist Pen’s attempts to flee had been thwarted, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace soon followed to blast his claims as “misinformation”.
Escape from Kabul airport has been rendered harder than ever following terrorist attacks and constant threats to safety, leading to the Ministry of Defence to advice citizens to seek alternative routes out of the country.
Dominic claimed on Friday’s GMB that escape was now uncertain given security measures which had supposedly prevented Pen’s plane from making it to the airport in order to evacuate him and his members of staff.
In an emotional plea, Dominic admitted he was unsure how Pen could now flee and said Pen “isn’t someone to leave people behind”.
But with Dominic’s rant against the MOD for supposedly not doing all it could to bring Pen home, Wallace appeared on the ITV show moments later to try and debunk his claims.
“Let me be quite clear on this,” he began. “It is from my point of view that the facts being pedalled by your previous contributor (were done) completely wrongly.
“No one blocked a flight – my officials and staff have been inundated with pretty much abusive conversation and emails unacceptably.
“Pen himself was called forward last Friday, we encouraged him to do that, he said he wouldn’t go without his animals and his Afghans. When the Afghans were called forward as was their turn and you’ll remember I’ve been very clear I wasn’t going to allow people to jump queues,
“When they were called forward, their instruction was to go to a location and obviously they got there but as I said throughout the whole process, this wasn’t about a plane on the runway, this was about the flow through the gates and the tragedy of this is that that has been proved.”
Wallace turned his attention directly to Pen as he added: “In defence of Pen, I think Pen is being fed total nonsense by your previous contributor all the time, I just heard him sketch out his do-it-yourself how to evacuate people from Afghanistan,
“Which is an insult by the way to the men and women who have just carried out the most extraordinary evacuation from a very hostile environment.”
Wallace then reeled off the evacuation figures and number of people the UK has managed to help evacuate from the country.
However, as Wallace continued to blast Dominic and others working alongside Pen, Alex and Charlotte stepped in.
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“I think that’s a bit unfair,” Alex interrupted Wallace as Charlotte also shouted over the MP: “I think we need to be fair to Dominic Dyer, don’t we?”
Charlotte continued: “He obviously feels very passionately about this and we can sense from you, I know you’ve been tweeting about this at another time at half one in the morning, it’s obviously something that’s very much on your mind.”
Wallace tried to interject but Charlotte continued to talk over him and drown him out: “He is extremely keen to protect from the humanitarian point of view when you know somebody who’s directly involved in it.
“Your position as Defence Secretary is you have the overview but I think when he has that personal connection, when you know those people, obviously you want to do everything to get them out.”
Wallace’s GMB rant came hours after he’d issued a series of corrections and furious messages via his Twitter regarding the aforementioned “misinformation”.
He began: “Let’s get some facts out there: 1. No one , at any stage has blocked a flight. This is a total myth and is being peddled around as if that is why the pet evacuation hasn’t taken place. 2. I never said I would not facilitate. I said no one would get to queue jump.”
In a series of subsequent tweets, Wallace tried to explain hat was happen ing before he condemned the reception the MOD has faced as a result.
“The bullying, falsehoods and threatening behaviour by some towards our MOD personnel and advisors is unacceptable and a shameful way to treat people trying to help the evacuation. They do their cause no good,” he added in his tweets.
“So can people now please let my civil servants and military get on with dealing with one of the most dangerous and challenging evacuations for a generation. As professionals they will do their best for all those eligible and with my full support.”
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.
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