Thursday, 14 November

Ambassador 'has PM's full support' despite Trump criticism

World News
Downing Street has reaffirmed its "full support" for the UK's ambassador to the US after Donald Trump said he will no longer work with him.

The US president was responding after leaked emails revealed Sir Kim Darroch had called his administration inept.

In a series of tweets Mr Trump also criticised Theresa May's handling of Brexit saying she had created "a mess".

Number 10 called the leak "unfortunate" and said the UK and US still shared a "special and enduring" relationship.

BBC New York correspondent Nick Bryant said Sir Kim was still planning to join International Trade Secretary Liam Fox for a scheduled meeting with the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, on Tuesday.

A Downing Street spokesman 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."

But he said ambassadors needed to be able to provide honest assessments of the politics in their country, and the prime minister stood by Sir Kim.

"The UK has a special and enduring relationship with the US based on our long history and commitment to shared values and that will continue to be the case," he said.

Former Conservative leader and ex-foreign secretary Lord Hague urged the UK government to be "patient" and "not escalate things".

However, he also told Radio 4's Today programme: "You would never have any honest report from any ambassador in the world if you said: 'Well, if any of their communications are released, we'll then have to remove them from their position.'"

"That is well understood by US diplomats... I think there will be a strong enough relationship between a new prime minister and the president to have that conversation," he added.

An ex-British ambassador to the US and a close friend of Sir Kim's said there was a "possible range of villains" who potentially could have made the leak.

Sir Christopher Meyer told Today: "It was clearly somebody who set out deliberately to sabotage Sir Kim's ambassadorship, to make his position untenable and to have him replaced by somebody more congenial to the leaker."

Speaking on Monday following Mr Trump's initial comments on the leaked emails, Downing Street said the prime minister did not agree with Sir Kim's assessment but had "full faith" in him.

Police were urged to open a criminal investigation into the leak in addition to an internal inquiry launched by the government.

Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the foreign affairs committee, told MPs he had made the request in a letter to the Met Police.

The Met said it had received Mr Tugendhat's request but had not received an official governmental referral of allegations in relation to the Official Secrets Act.

Such a referral would be required for a criminal investigation to be considered, a Met spokesman said.

Source: BBC

Source: Emmanuel Mensah