May backs leaked ambassador after Trump tirade
Outgoing UK Prime Minister Theresa May has given her ambassador to Washington her “full support” after Donald Trump said he would stop dealing with Sir Kim Darroch.
Trump tweeted that May had made a “mess” of Brexit and the “good news” was that the UK “will soon have a new prime minister”.
The tirade follows the leak of memos from Darroch calling Trump “incompetent”, “inept” and “insecure”.
Trump tweeted that Darroch, 65, was “not liked or well thought of within the US … we will no longer deal with him”.
He said previously that Darroch “has not served the UK well”.
Trying to end the dispute, May’s office said: “We have made clear to the US how unfortunate this leak is. The selective extracts leaked do not reflect the closeness of, and the esteem in which we hold, the relationship.
“At the same time, we have also underlined the importance of ambassadors being able to provide honest, unvarnished assessments of the politics in their country.”
A Cabinet Office inquiry has been opened into the leak of the messages and whether they were obtained by a “hostile state actor”.
In the Commons, there were calls for a police investigation amid widespread anger at the leak.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is poised to lose the Tory leadership election to Boris Johnson, said “all avenues of inquiry” would be explored to find the culprit.
Hunt told the gutter press Sun: “Of course it would be massively concerning if it was the act of a foreign, hostile state.
“I’ve seen no evidence that that’s the case, but we’ll look at the leak inquiry very carefully.”
The ambassador said that to be understood by Trump “you need to make your points simple, even blunt” and that his administration was “uniquely dysfunctional” and divided. In another message, Darroch said the populist “radiates insecurity”.
Trump proved the point by making the ambassador’s position untenable.
Darroch said the Trump team had been “dazzled” by June’s state visit to Britain was the “flavour of the month” but that the Oval Office was “still the land of America First”.
Lord Renwick of Clifton, a former ambassador to the US, described the leak as an absolute disgrace. He told the BBC: “He hasn’t done anything wrong but his position has become untenable. There will, of course, be a decent interval. He will then have to be moved on. So the leaker has rendered his position untenable and, you know, it has completely undermined any relationship of confidence he might have with Trump and his administration.”
Donald Trump is deeply unpopular among large sections of UK society. Picture credit: Eurasia Times