Donald Trump slams British ambassador as inquiry launched into leak of diplomatic cables
Donald Trump has hit back at Britain's ambassador to the United States after leaked internal memos described the White House as "uniquely dysfunctional" and "inept".
The US President said Sir Kim Darroch had "not served the UK well" as the Foreign Office launched an inquiry into the leak of the diplomatic cables.
The Mail on Sunday this weekend published a string of confidential messages from Britain's man in Washington, which questioned whether the US administration would "ever look competent".
Sir Kim wrote in one: "We don’t really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction-riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept."
Asked about the row by reporters on Sunday night, President Trump said: "The ambassador has not served the UK well, I can tell you that. We are not big fans of that man... I can say things about him, but I won’t bother."
Allies of the US President meanwhile told The Telegraph that they believed Sir Kim would now face calls to be "removed" from his post.
"Having worked with the president, I can tell you he won’t look kindly on this," one told the paper.
Foreign Secretary and Conservative leadership contender Jeremy Hunt distanced himself from the contents of the leaked cables, describing them as "a personal view".
He said in a statement: "It's not the view of the British government. It's not my view.
"We continue to think that under President Trump the US administration is not just highly effective but the best possible friend of the United Kingdom on the international stage."
But the top diplomat was defended by Justice Secretary David Gauke and Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Tom Tugendhat - amid suggestions the leak had come from a senior politician.
Mr Gauke told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "I think ambassadors need to be able to make their honest assessment of the situation and report back to London.
"And that is what he's done."
Meanwhile Mr Tugendhat asked: "How can officials give honest advice to politicians if it is stored and leaked for petty point-scoring?
"This is deeply damaging to the integrity of the UK and must be investigated by the police immediately."
Their comments came as the Foreign Office confirmed that a leak inquiry was now underway.
An FCO spokesperson said: "A formal leak investigation has now been initiated."