Sunday, 21 July, 2019

Johnson criticised as United Kingdom ambassador resigns in Trump emails leak row

UK ambassador to the US Kim Darroch resigns over leaked comments about Donald Trump U.K. ambassador to U.S. resigning after cables critical of Trump leaked
Deanna Wagner | 11 July, 2019, 10:28

In one of the cables published in Britain last weekend, the 65-year-old Darroch said, "We don't really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction driven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept".

Long before the current uproar, just after Trump won the presidency, The Sunday Times reported of a memo Darroch wrote in which he stated, "The president-elect is above all an outsider and unknown quantity, whose campaign pronouncements may reveal his instincts, but will surely evolve and, particularly, be open to outside influence if pitched right".

The ambassador, who has worked in the diplomatic service for 42 years, said it had become "impossible" to perform his duties and would resign ahead of his planned retirement to end "speculation" over his role.

Sir Simon McDonald, the Permanent Under Secretary at the Foreign Office and Head of the Diplomatic Service wrote in response to the ambassador's resignation letter that "you were the target of a malicious leak; you were simply doing your job".

The leaked diplomatic cables written by Sir Kim, in which he labelled the Trump administration as "uniquely dysfunctional" and "inept", have sparked a row between the United Kingdom and America.

Trump had tweeted soon after he was elected in 2016, and that sentiment seemed to be part of the set-up that sent Darroch packing. He had served three years as ambassador to the US and was scheduled to leave his post 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.

The souring of relations between Britain and the United States comes at a particularly unwelcome time for London, which is mired in the details of how and when to leave the European Union, a departure now scheduled for October 31.

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Mr Powell pledged to "act as appropriate" to defend an economic expansion threatened by trade disputes and a global slowdown. Wall Street is all but certain that the end of the Federal Reserve's three-year hiking campaign is here.

As Brexit looms, Britain is also hoping for a free trade deal with the USA to mitigate the impact of leaving the European Union.

Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to become prime minister, said that Darroch is a superb diplomat and that public servants should not be dragged into the political agenda. He convened discussions on policy and politics with lawmakers, journalists and think tank scholars, sending dispatches on his conversations across the political spectrum back to London.

Johnson, a former foreign minister, repeatedly failed to back Darroch during a televised debate late on Tuesday. "Good government depends on public servants being able to give full and frank advice", she told the House of Commons on Wednesday and added that she deeply regretted his decision to step down.

"If I am our next prime minister, the ambassador in Washington stays because it's our decision", Hunt said in an ITV debate the day before Sir Kim's resignation.

Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan went further, accusing Johnson of having "thrown our top diplomat under a bus" for his own personal interests.

The Prime Minister spoke with Mr Darroch by phone for about five minutes, shortly before facing MPs.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Johnson's rival for the post, said Wednesday it was "absolutely essential that when our diplomats do their job all over the world. we defend them". "In a very hard period, he was showing his customary professionalism".