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UK ambassador to Washington quits over leaks spat

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on July 10, 2019 - Duration: 01:55s

UK ambassador to Washington quits over leaks spat

UK ambassador to Washingon Kim Darroch has resigned after a Twitter tirade from Donald Trump.

The U.S. president called him "wacky" because of leaked memos in which Darroch expressed scathing views about the current administration.

Lucy Fielder reports.

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UK ambassador to Washington quits over leaks spat

Britain's ambassador to Washington resigned Wednesday (July 10), after U.S. President Donald Trump labeled him "stupid" and "wacky" because of leaked confidential memos.

In them, Kim Darroch branded the Trump administration inept, insecure and incompetent.

He said in his resignation letter the current situation was making it impossible for him to carry out his role as he'd like.

Trump said he'd no longer deal with him.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who has backed Darroch, said she regretted he felt the need to resign.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, THERESA MAY, SAYING: "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." Darroch's memos were leaked to a British newspaper, drawing a salvo of Trump Twitter attacks on both the ambassador and -- quote -- "foolish" May for standing by him.

He was due to leave his post anyway at the end of the year.

May is leaving even sooner -- this month -- and the spat has played into the contest for her successor.

With some laying the blame for Darroch's resignation at the door of Boris Johnson, the frontrunner and a former foreign minister, Who pointedly declined to say he'd remain in Washington if HE became prime minister.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY AND PRIME MINISTER CANDIDATE, BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING: "It is vital that our civil service is not politicized by ministers leaking what they say.

Whoever leaked that deserves to be eviscerated." Which led one minister to accuse him of throwing Darroch "under a bus" to serve his own interests.

Johnson's comments on Wednesday looked like a hasty climb-down: (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY AND PRIME MINISTER CANDIDATE, BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING: "Darroch is a superb diplomat and I worked with him for many years..." An inquiry has been launched into how the leak happened.

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