Thursday, 14 November, 2019

British police open investigation into leak of ambassador's memos

President Trump made the comments as he left the White House this morning President Trump made the comments as he left the White House this morning Credit Reuters
Deanna Wagner | 13 July, 2019, 15:56

Scotland Yard has launched a criminal investigation into the leak of diplomatic dispatches sent by Britain's USA ambassador Sir Kim Darroch.

He asked the person behind the leaks to turn themselves in and avoid wasting detectives' time, saying: "You can stop this now".

The backlash comes after Scotland Yard launched an investigation into the leaking of confidential communications between the UK's ambassador to the US Kim Darroch, and the Foreign Office, in which he made disparaging remarks about the Trump administration.

The statement also said there has been damage caused to Britain's worldwide relations, and there would be clear public interest in bringing the person or people responsible to justice.

Basu said that the leaks may be a "criminal matter" as he urged the culprit to "turn yourself in at the earliest opportunity, explain yourself and face the consequences".

President Trump hit back and denounced him as a "very stupid guy" and a "pompous fool", vowing he would never work with him in his position as ambassador.

He also advised media owners, editors and publishers not to publish "leaked government documents that may already be in their possession, or which may be offered to them", and instead turn them over to the police or to their owner.

"If I were the Metropolitan police commissioner, and I wanted to maintain my credibility and the credibility of my force, I would quickly distance myself from this very stupid and ill-advised statement from a junior officer who doesn't appear to understand much about press freedom", the former chancellor tweeted.

Shortly afterwards Sir Kim announced his resignation saying "the current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role".

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"I fear there may be more", he said.

"They should also be aware of the huge damage that has already been done and the potentially even greater damage to be done by further breaches of the Official Secrets Act".

Some senior Conservative figures criticised Mr Johnson over his perceived failure to defend Sir Kim.

"I wish the British ambassador well", Trump told reporters as he left the White House on Friday to head to Wisconsin.

However, the Tory leadership frontrunner denied failing to give Sir Kim his backing and said his words during a televised leadership debate had been "misrepresented".

British lawmakers are warning that the country is at risk of turning into a "police state", as police tell media outlets not to publish leaked government documents after a row that led to the resignation of the UK's ambassador to the US.

The exposure of Ambassador Kim Darroch's confidential communications has caused a stir across the Atlantic.

Both men battling to replace Theresa May as prime minister when she steps down on July 24 because she failed to deliver Britain's exit from the European Union also said Basu was wrong.