Sir Kim Darroch resigns as UK's ambassador to America over leaked cables criticising Donald Trump

Posted On: 
10th July 2019

Sir Kim Darroch has resigned as the UK's ambassador to Washington following the leak of top-secret cables in which he criticised Donald Trump's administration.

Sir Kim Darroch became the UK's man in Washington in 2016.
Credit: 
PA Images

The top civil servant said the controversy had made it "impossible" for him to carry on in the role he has held since 2016.

President Trump reacted angrily to the publication of the cables - in which he described the US government as "inept" and "uniquely dysfunctional" - in the Mail on Sunday, announcing he was severing ties with Sir Kim.

Theresa May has 'full faith' in ambassador despite leaked cables criticising Donald Trump

Jeremy Hunt hits out at ‘disrespectful’ Donald Trump after Twitter outbursts at Theresa May

Donald Trump brands UK ambassador 'very stupid' and Theresa May 'foolish' in fresh outburst

Sir Kim's position effectively became untenable when Boris Johnson - odds-on favourite to become Prime Minister in a fortnight - refused to back him in a live TV debate with Jeremy Hunt on Tuesday night.

In a letter to Sir Simon McDonald, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, the ambassador said: "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. 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.

"Although my posting is not due to end until the end of this year, I believe in the current circumstances the responsible course is to allow the appointment of a new ambassador.

"I am grateful to all those in the UK and the US, who have offered their support during this difficult few days. This has brought home to me the depth of friendship and close ties between our two countries. I have been deeply touched.

"I am also grateful to all those with whom I have worked over the last four decades, particularly my team here in the US. The professionalism and integrity of the British civil service is the envy of the world. I will leave it full of confidence that its values remain in safe hands."

At Prime Minister's Questions, Theresa May told MPs: "I have spoken to Sir Kim Darroch. I have told him that it is a matter of great regret that he has felt it necessary to leave his position as ambassador in Washington.

"The whole Cabinet rightly gave its full support to Sir Kim on Tuesday. Sir Kim has given a lifetime of service to the UK and we owe him an enormous debt of gratitude.

"Good government depends on public servants being able to give full and frank advice. I want all our public servants to have the confidence to be able to do that. I hope the House will reflect on the importance of defending our values and principles, particularly when they are under pressure."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "I too regret the resignation of Sir Kim Darroch. I think the comments made about him are beyond unfair and wrong.

"I think he has given honourable and good service and he should be thanked for it. And I think the whole House should join together in deeply regretting the feeling that he has obviously got that he must resign at this moment."