British ambassador to Washington resigns after leaked memo spat

Published: July 10, 2019
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PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

Britain’s ambassador to Washington resigned on Wednesday after Donald Trump labelled him “stupid” and “wacky” following the release of confidential memos from the envoy in which he branded the US president’s administration inept.

Memos from Kim Darroch were leaked to a British Sunday newspaper, infuriating Trump who launched a stinging Twitter attack on both the envoy and British Prime Minister Theresa May who had given him her full support.

“Since the leak of official documents from this Embassy, there has been a great deal of speculation surrounding my position and the duration of my remaining term as ambassador,” Darroch wrote in his resignation letter.

“I want to put an end to that speculation,” he added.

The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like.” May told parliament after the resignation was announced that she had spoken to Darroch, who was due to leave his post anyway at the end of the year.

Prime Minister Theresa May said she regretted that Britain’s ambassador to the United States had felt the need to resign, adding that officials needed to be able to give “full and frank advice”.

Resignation letter in full

“Since the leak of official documents from this Embassy, there has been a great deal of speculation surrounding my position and the duration of my remaining term as ambassador.

I want to put an end to that speculation. The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like.” “Although my posting is not due to end until the end of this year, I believe in the current circumstances the responsible course is to allow the appointment of a new ambassador.

“I am grateful to all those in the UK and the US who have offered their support during these difficult few days. This has brought home to me the depth of friendship and close ties between our two countries. I have been deeply touched”.

I am also grateful to all those with whom I have worked over the last four decades, particularly my team here in the US.

The professionalism and integrity of the British civil service is the envy of the world. I will leave it full of confidence that its values remain in safe hands.

UK foreign minister Hunt “outraged” by a leak which led to envoy quitting

Britain’s foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said he was outraged that confidential memos by Darroch were leaked, leading to his resignation.

“Whenever I visited Washington as foreign secretary, I was struck by Sir Kim’s professionalism and intellect,” Hunt – who is a contender to be Britain’s next prime minister – said in a statement. “I am outraged that a selection of his reports should have been leaked.”

Events leading to the resignation

Below is a timeline of events leading up to the ambassador’s resignation.

July 7 – Ambassador Darroch describes Trump’s administration as “dysfunctional”, “clumsy” and “inept” in a series of confidential memos, the Mail on Sunday newspaper reports.

July 8 – President Trump says he “will no longer deal” with the ambassador.

July 9 – The ambassador remains in post and continues to carry out his duties with British Prime Minister Theresa May’s full support, her spokesman says.

July 9 – President Trump lashes out at “foolish” Prime Minister May and her “wacky” ambassador.

July 9 – Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt says Trump’s comments are “disrespectful and wrong” to May and to Britain.

July 10 – Darroch resigns as UK ambassador to the United States, saying “the current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like.”

 

 

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