British ambassador to US resigns after leaked memo spat

British ambassador to US resigns after leaked memo spat

LONDON: Britain's ambassador to the US resigned on Wednesday (Jul 10) 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.

"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," Sir Kim Darroch said in his resignation letter.

"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."

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.

"I have told him it is a matter of great regret that he has felt it necessary to leave his position as ambassador to Washington," she said.

READ: May backs ambassador branded 'a pompous fool' by Trump

The confidential telegrams have created a political firestorm in London after their publication in the Mail on Sunday newspaper. 

One of them called the Trump administration "uniquely dysfunctional" while another characterised the US leader as "incompetent" and "insecure".

In a series of tweets, Trump hit out at Darroch and also at Prime Minister Theresa May, saying she had created a "mess" over Britain's withdrawal from the European Union.

Responding, a British government 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.

"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."

The telegrams threaten to complicate London's efforts to strike a new US trade agreement that could help mitigate potential damage from Britain's withdrawal from the European Union.

READ: Diplomacy: A genteel world combusts in online era

Trump has fired back against the comments, saying that people in his administration were "not big fans" of London's envoy to Washington.

"We are not big fans of that man and he has not served the UK well. So I can understand it, and I can say things about him but I won't bother," Trump told reporters.

Source: Agencies/nh