The Foreign Office head who is paid £185,000 a year of taxpayers’ money and will enjoy a gold-plated pension but stayed on holiday for 11 days while Kabul fell in biggest foreign policy crisis since Suez

  • Sir Philip Barton is paid £185,000-a-year and has a pension worth £1.7million
  • In September 2020, was made Permanent Under-Secretary Foreign Affairs
  • That was 11 days of vacation while Kabul fell under Taliban control amid an international crisis 

Sir Philip Barton enjoys a £185,000-a-year taxpayer-funded pay packet – yet stayed on holiday for 11 days while Kabul fell.

Foreign Office’s top diplomat, who will receive a golden-plated pension, admitted today that there were many lessons to learn from the Afghanistan crisis. 

Deputies were left to manage the most serious foreign policy crisis since 1956, when Suez was Suez. 

Sir Philip, 58, who took on the role as Permanent Under-Secretary for Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Affairs in September 2020, is in line for a £1.7million pension pot.

British diplomat born August 18, 1963. He studied politics and economics at Warwick University, before completing his masters of economics at London School of Economics.

Sir Philip Barton (pictured), who will enjoy a gold-plated pension, today admitted there are 'lessons to be learned' from the Afghanistan debacle

Sir Philip Barton, who will be able to retire with a pension that is gold-plated and has admitted today there were ‘lessons learned’ in the Afghanistan disaster

The married father-of-two got his first job in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1986, when he was stationed in Caracas, New Delhi, and went on to be showered with awards: including the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1997 Birthday Honours list; and Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the 2007 Birthdays Honours.

In 2020 he was made Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) for his services to British foreign policy.

Following their meeting while Sir Philip was in India, Amanda became his wife. He stated that he met Amanda while working in India and they named their daughter India. Not knowing that he would one day be the High Commissioner.

Sir Philip, during an extraordinary hearing of the committee revealed that he had been on leave since August 9, and didn’t return until August 26, almost two weeks after the collapse and handing over to the Taliban. 

Although he refused to disclose where he was, he said that it was somewhere in the UK. He also stated that he had covered himself. He would not confirm whether he was still within the UK during the evacuation.

Sir Philip greets British Ambassador to Afghanistan Sir Laurie Bristow as he arrives at RAF Brize Norton base after being evacuated from Kabul, in Oxfordshire, August 29

Sir Philip and Sir Laurie Bristow greet Sir Philip, British Ambassador in Afghanistan. Sir Philip was evacuated from Kabul on August 29, 2012.

Sir Philip maintained that there was no inevitability about the situation spiralling out-of control at the moment he left, adding: “If I had my chance again, I would have returned from my leave sooner.” 

The MPs were furious at him and accused him of making ‘platitudes’. He also asked when the leave was booked and why Dominic Raab allowed him to go off with Dominic Raab. The national security advisor Sir Stephen Lovegrove and Matthew Rycroft (heads of the Ministry of Defence & Home Office), were also absent at the time. 

The mandarin stated that the evacuation from Kabul in the aftermath of the government’s collapse was one of the most challenging and complex crises he’d ever faced. 

However, he acknowledged that it was not perfect and said he would have liked to see more people get out. 

In 2020 Sir Philip became the shortest serving High Commissioner to India when he took up his current position just nine months after accepting the role.