United Kingdom ambassador to USA quits days after leaked cables

US President Donald Trump

Britain's ambassador to the United States resigned Wednesday after being branded a fool and made a diplomatic nobody by President Donald Trump following the leak of the envoy's unflattering opinions about the USA administration.

Sir Christopher Meyer, a former British ambassador, tweeted: "An utter outrage that Kim Darroch has been brought down by a disgraceful leak and the vindictive reaction of the US President".

The comments swiftly ignited a diplomatic row between the United States and the UK, and Trump vowed to no longer deal with Darroch, lambasting the UK's top diplomat as "a very stupid guy".

May herself is due to step down as prime minister by the end of July and while one of the two contenders to replace her, foreign minister Jeremy Hunt, had said Darroch should keep his job, the other, frontrunner Boris Johnson, had pointedly declined to do so.

Meanwhile Downing Street confirmed that "initial discussions" had taken place with the police regarding the Whitehall investigation into the source of the leak.

Darroch said his position had become untenable.

In response to Darroch's resignation Wednesday, Guardian columnist Owen Jones tweeted: "We're on course to become the 51st state of Donald Trump's U.S., with Boris Johnson as his consul".

Darroch's future as the UK's ambassador came up as one of the issues in a bad-tempered television debate between the two rival candidates to succeed May as Conservative party leader and United Kingdom prime minister later this month.

"For someone who wants to lead, let alone unite, the country, that was contemptible negligence on his part", he told the BBC.

"He has basically thrown this fantastic diplomat under the bus to serve his own personal interests", Duncan said.

But a friend of Sir Kim said: 'Boris Johnson's comments were not the only factor that persuaded him to resign, but they were a factor.

"I think that what anxious him was what would happen with a new prime minister who had made no commitment to him at all in the debate last night".

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When asked why he failed to express his support for Sir Kim during the live debate on ITV, Mr Johnson explained: "I don't think it's right to drag public servants' careers into the arena in that way".

"The fact that Sir Kim has been bullied out of his job, because of Donald Trump's tantrums and Boris Johnson's pathetic lick-spittle response, is something that shames our country", she said.

In the leaked documents, he called the Trump administration's policy toward Iran "incoherent", said the president might be indebted to "dodgy Russians" and raised doubts about whether the White House "will ever look competent".

In his resignation letter Sir Kim - who Trump branded a "pompous fool" and a "stupid guy" - said: "The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like".

"I have spoken to Sir Kim Darroch, 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", May told the House of Commons as lawmakers shouted "shame" and "disgrace".

"The whole Cabinet rightly gave its full support to Sir Kim on Tuesday", she said.

Mr Johnson said: "I think it is absolutely vital that the advice that civil servants give to ministers should not be leaked by ministers and should not be commented on by ministers if civil servants are going to feel free to give that advice with the impartiality that they want". I'm a great supporter of Kim's.

But he said the trans-Atlantic relationship was "so deep and so wide that it will withstand any individual squall".

"It's a very serious situation because the consequences for the relationship with the United States, which were already hard under the current president, are clearly very significant".

Sir Kim was also not attending a meeting between Ivanka Trump and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox in Washington.

It then emerged a planned meeting between Mr Fox and the United States commerce secretary - which Sir Kim had also been expected to attend - was cancelled due to "diary clashes".

"Every single diplomat is looking at him and saying, 'There but for the grace of God go I'".



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