/Sir Kim Darroch has QUIT as the UKs ambassador to the US
Sir Kim Darroch has QUIT as the UKs ambassador to the US

Sir Kim Darroch has QUIT as the UKs ambassador to the US

Boris Johnson today faced fury for throwing Sir Kim Darroch ‘under the bus’ after the UK’s ambassador to Washington dramatically quit over his spat with Donald Trump.
Sir Kim said he wanted to ‘put an end’ to the speculation over his future after his barbed comments about the Trump administration sparked an all-out diplomatic war between the US and Britain.
The leaked documents revealed Sir Kim called Mr Trump’s administration ‘inept’ – triggering the US President to retort that he was a ‘pompous fool’.
Mr Johnson has been hit with a massive backlash amid claims from Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan and others that he hung Sir Kim out to dry by refusing to rule out sacking him in an ITV debate last night.
But in a move to potentially try to dampen the anger directed at him, Mr Johnson is believed to have called Sir Kim today to bemoan the fact that he felt he had to resign.
The veteran diplomat apparently decided he could not cling on after watching the programme, despite having received full backing from Theresa May and the Cabinet.
However, there have been counter-claims that Sir Kim had actually decided to step down before the TV debate with one source telling The Sun the outgoing ambassador had ‘made up his mind to go before anything Boris said’.
Mrs May today delivered a thinly-veiled swipe at her likely successor by stressing the importance of ‘defending our values’ – while Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt also waded into the row by vowing to ‘stand up for Britain’.
The two Tory leadership contenders clashed bitterly over the row during the ITV showdown last night, with allies of Mr Johnson telling MailOnline afterwards that Mr Hunt might have wrecked his chances of keeping his job in the new government.
Labour branded Mr Johnson a ‘pathetic lickspittle’ who bowed to Mr Trump’s ‘tantrums’, while former foreign secretary David Miliband said he was ‘spineless’.
Mr Johnson scrambled to defuse the crisis this afternoon, insisting he ‘regretted’ Sir Kim’s decision to resign.
‘He is a superb diplomat. I worked with him for many years,’ Mr Johnson said.
‘Whoever leaked his DipTels has done a great disservice. I hope whoever did is run down and caught and eviscerated, quite frankly.
‘It is not right that civil servants’ careers should be dragged into the political agenda.’
Former Cabinet minister Sir Michael Fallon, a supporter of Mr Johnson, also complained of a ‘shabby attempt to politicise’ Sir Kim’s departure. He said the ambassador’s position was already ‘probably untenable’ and Mr Johnson’s words would have made no difference.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Office’s top mandarin, Sir Simon McDonald said he had never before known a head of state refuse to work with an ambassador – as Mr Trump did.
Sir Simon also revealed that police are involved in the hunt for the mole who leaked the ambassador’s secret assessments of the US administration.

Mr Trump, pictured today as he signed an executive order about advancing kidney health, had called Mrs May 'foolish' and Sir Kim a 'very stupid guy' as he responded to leaked comments from the UK's ambassador in Washington

Mr Trump, pictured today as he signed an executive order about advancing kidney health, had called Mrs May ‘foolish’ and Sir Kim a ‘very stupid guy’ as he responded to leaked comments from the UK’s ambassador in Washington

Mr Trump had vowed to no longer deal with Sir Kim if he remained as the UK's ambassador

Mr Trump had vowed to no longer deal with Sir Kim if he remained as the UK’s ambassador

Sir Kim Darroch labelled Mr Trump 'inept' in a series of diplomatic cables which were leaked. The leak is now the subject of a formal Cabinet Office investigation

Sir Kim Darroch labelled Mr Trump ‘inept’ in a series of diplomatic cables which were leaked. The leak is now the subject of a formal Cabinet Office investigation

Boris Johnson (pictured visiting a Wetherspoon's in London with the chain's Brexiteer boss Tim Martin today) is facing a massive backlash for failing to back Sir Kim

Boris Johnson (pictured visiting a Wetherspoon’s in London with the chain’s Brexiteer boss Tim Martin today) is facing a massive backlash for failing to back Sir Kim

Theresa May, pictured leaving Number 10 today, told MPs at lunchtime that Sir Kim Darroch's resignation was a 'matter of great regret'

Theresa May, pictured leaving Number 10 today, told MPs at lunchtime that Sir Kim Darroch’s resignation was a ‘matter of great regret’

Donald Trump launched an extraordinary attack on Sir Kim after his memos were leaked - and Jeremy Hunt swiped at Mr Johnson for failing to stand up to the US president

Donald Trump launched an extraordinary attack on Sir Kim after his memos were leaked – and Jeremy Hunt swiped at Mr Johnson for failing to stand up to the US president

In his resignation letter, Sir Kim said the current furore over his role made it ‘impossible’ for him to do his job.
He 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.’
Mrs May said at Prime Minister’s questions in the House of Commons at lunchtime that Sir Kim’s resignation was a ‘matter of great regret’ as she appeared to deliver a message to her successor to stand up to Mr Trump.
She said: ‘Sir Kim has given a lifetime of service to the UK and we owe him an enormous debt of gratitude.’

‘It is impossible to continue’: Sir Kim’s resignation letter

In a letter to the head of the Foreign Office, Sir Simon McDonald, Sir Kim said he believed it was ‘impossible’ for him to carry on in his current role –  but said he had been deeply touched by those who had ‘offered him support’. In a somewhat emotional response, Sir Simon thanked the life-long civil servant for acting with ‘dignity, professionalism and class.’

Sir Kim’s letter: ‘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,’ he said.

‘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.

Sir Kim added he was ‘grateful’ to those in the UK and the US who have offered him support during what he has described as these ‘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’.

In his reply to Sir Kim, Sir Simon said he was accepting his resignation with ‘deep personal regret’.

‘Over the last few difficult days you have behaved as you have always behaved over a long and distinguished career, with dignity, professionalism and class,’ he said.

‘The Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and whole of the public service have stood with you: you were the target of a malicious leak; you were simply doing your job. I understand your wish to relieve the pressure on your family and your colleagues at the embassy; I admire the fact that you think more of others than yourself. You demonstrate the essence of the values of British public service.’

She added: ‘I hope this House will reflect on the importance of defending our values and principles particularly when they are under pressure.’
Sir Alan told the BBC: ‘Boris Johnson – a former foreign secretary and he hopes to be the future prime minister – has basically thrown our top diplomat under the bus.
‘There are a lot of people in the Commons who are very, very angry and feel that he has lost so much respect for having done what he has done.
‘His disregard for Sir Kim and his refusal to back him was pretty contemptible and also not in the best interests of the country he is trying to lead.’
He said Mr Johnson had the opportunity to defend Sir Kim during last night’s TV debate but chose not to do so.
‘For someone who wants to lead, let alone unite, the country, that was contemptible negligence on his part,’ he said.
The growing levels of anger came after Mr Johnson last night refused to guarantee that he would keep Sir Kim in post if he replaces Mrs May, after the ambassador had started yesterday to be frozen out of formal events and meetings in Washington.
Sir Kim is believed to have made his decision after watching Mr Johnson at the televised Tory leadership debate, having concluded the favourite to win the keys to Number 10 ‘was willing to throw civil servants under the bus’.
Mr Johnson responded to Sir Kim’s decision to quit by saying that civil servants needed to be ‘protected’.
Speaking during a visit to a Wetherspoon’s pub in London, Mr Johnson said: ‘He is a superb diplomat. I worked with him for many years.
‘Whoever leaked his DipTels has done a great disservice. I hope whoever did is run down and caught and eviscerated, quite frankly.
‘It is not right that civil servants’ careers should be dragged into the political agenda.’
Pressed on the fact that he had failed to back Sir Kim during last night’s debate, Mr Johnson said: ‘On the contrary, my view is it’s wrong to drag civil servants into the political arena.’
Mr Hunt, the Foreign Secretary and Mr Johnson’s leadership rival, had promised not to replace Sir Kim if he became PM.
Responding to Sir Kim’s resignation, Mr Hunt tweeted: ‘Standing up for Britain means standing up for the finest diplomats on the world. It should never have come to this.’
The Foreign Secretary said in an official statement ‘If one theme ran through all his endeavours, it was his unswerving devotion to upholding the interests of the United Kingdom, in the best tradition of British diplomacy.
‘In that spirit, he brought dispassionate insight and directness to his reporting to ministers in London. Whenever I visited Washington as Foreign Secretary, I was struck by Sir Kim’s professionalism and intellect. I am outraged that a selection of his reports should have been leaked.

Sir Kim on Trump

In one of the most sensitive documents, Sir Kim writes: ‘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.’

He also says that he doesn’t think Trump’s White House will ‘ever look competent’.

In reference to Mr Trump’s ability to shrug off controversies in a life which has been ‘mired in scandal’, he says that the President may nonetheless ’emerge from the flames, battered but intact, like [Arnold] Schwarzenegger in the final scenes of The Terminator’.

One memo, sent by Sir Kim on June 22, refers to ‘incoherent, chaotic’ US-Iran policy, adding: ‘Its unlikely that US policy on Iran is going to become more coherent any time soon.’

Trump on Sir Kim

Donald Trump tweeted earlier today: ‘The wacky Ambassador that the U.K. foisted upon the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy.

‘He should speak to his country, and Prime Minister May, about their failed Brexit negotiation, and not be upset with my criticism of how badly it was handled.

‘I told how to do that deal, but she went her own foolish way-was unable to get it done.

‘A disaster!

‘I don’t know the Ambassador but have been told he is a pompous fool.

‘Tell him the USA now has the best economy and military anywhere in the world, by far.’

The Foreign Office's top mandarin, Sir Simon McDonald told MPs today he had never before known a head of state refuse to work with an ambassador - as Mr Trump did

The Foreign Office’s top mandarin, Sir Simon McDonald told MPs today he had never before known a head of state refuse to work with an ambassador – as Mr Trump did

Mrs May delivered what might have been a coded rebuke to Mr Trump today by posting a photo of herself meeting with Cindy McCain, the widow of the US president's arch-nemesis Sen John McCain

Mrs May delivered what might have been a coded rebuke to Mr Trump today by posting a photo of herself meeting with Cindy McCain, the widow of the US president’s arch-nemesis Sen John McCain

‘I am sure that our Ambassadors worldwide will continue to provide the objective and rigorous reporting that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has always prized.
‘I profoundly regret how this episode has led Sir Kim to decide to resign.’

Police called in to assist Darroch memos probe

Britain’s most senior diplomat has revealed the police have been called in to investigate the bombshell leak of Sir Kim Darroch’s memos which prompted him to resign.

Sir Simon McDonald, the head of the Diplomatic Service, said this afternoon that ‘the police are involved’ in the probe and that if there is a criminal case to answer then it will be handed to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Sir Simon also said that the government was not excluding the possibility of the memos having been obtained through hacking, possibly by a hostile state actor.

Downing Street also confirmed there had been some ‘initial discussions’ with the police.

‘There have been some initial discussions with the police on the investigation,’ a Number 10 spokeswoman said.

‘If there was concern about criminal activity the police would become involved more formally at that point.’

But after the debate, a senior ally of Mr Johnson told MailOnline Mr Hunt had blundered by putting himself on the ‘wrong side of the US’.
‘In the end Hunt went into this leadership election thinking he would either be Foreign Secretary or PM. And actually he has rather stupidly, given it doesn’t look like he will be PM, put himself in a limbo position where he might not be either.
‘It’s not particularly smart.’
They added: ‘It is a strange thing for Hunt to do because it has made the position very difficult for Boris in reappointing him.’
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, said Mr Trump’s comments about Sir Kim were ‘beyond unfair and wrong’.
‘I think he has given honourable and good service and he should be thanked for it,’ he said.
Sir Simon said in a written response to Sir Kim’s resignation letter that the outgoing ambassador had been the victim of a ‘malicious leak’.
He said: ‘Over the last few difficult days you have behaved as you have always behaved over a long and distinguished career, with dignity, professionalism and class.
‘The Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and whole of the public service have stood with you: you were the target of a malicious leak; you were simply doing your job.
‘I understand your wish to relieve the pressure on your family and your colleagues at the Embassy; I admire the fact that you think more of others than yourself.
‘You demonstrate the essence of the values of British public service. I want to stress my deep appreciation for all you have done over the last four decades.’
The head of the Diplomatic Service later told a committee of MPs this afternoon that never in his career before had a head of state refused to work with a British ambassador.

Boris supporters suggest Hunt will be sacked as Foreign Secretary after criticising Trump

Allies of the favourite to be the next PM said Mr Hunt had made it ‘very difficult’ for him to stay on as Foreign Secretary if Mr Johnson wins the race for Number 10 because of his rebuke of the US President.

Mr Hunt said yesterday Mr Trump’s attacks on Sir Kim Darroch and Theresa May were ‘disrespectful and wrong’ in comments likely to have further incensed the US President.

Assuming Mr Johnson does become PM, his allies believe he may well sack Mr Hunt as part of a bid for a total reset of relations with the White House.

‘This is not the first time a British ambassador has left post or resigned because of actions against the host government but usually they are governments with whom we have problematic relations rather than friendly relations,’ he said.
Labour MP Chris Bryant asked: ‘Even then have there been many occasions in your experiences where there’s been a complete refusal by a head of state to work with a British envoy?’
‘I know of none’, Sir Simon replied.
Sir Kim was already expected to step down as ambassador either later this year or early next after four years in the post – viewed as a standard term in diplomatic circles.
Speaking before Sir Kim’s resignation was made public, Mr Johnson said: ‘I don’t think any civil servant should be thrown to the wolves nor should their advice to ministers be leaked.

Sir Kim's decision to quit represents a major win for Donald Trump (pictured shaking hands with Sir Kim together at an event at Capitol Hill). The US President said he would no longer do business with Mr Trump

Sir Kim’s decision to quit represents a major win for Donald Trump (pictured shaking hands with Sir Kim together at an event at Capitol Hill). The US President said he would no longer do business with Mr Trump

Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan branded Mr Johnson an 'utter wimp', while Foreign Affairs Committee chief Tom Tugendhat said true leaders 'defend' their people

Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan branded Mr Johnson an ‘utter wimp’, while Foreign Affairs Committee chief Tom Tugendhat said true leaders ‘defend’ their people

‘Nor should their careers be commented on in public.’
Mr Johnson last night said he would not be so ‘presumptuous’ as to talk about decisions he may make if he wins the race for Number 10 when he was asked if he would keep Sir Kim in post.

Could George Osborne replace Sir Kim as Britain’s man in Washington?

Sir Kim Darroch’s abrupt departure from his role in Washington means the UK must now find a replacement for what is arguably Britain’s most high profile diplomatic role.

The bookmakers’ front runner for the job is Michael Tatham who is currently Sir Kim’s deputy.

But if the government decides it needs to have a complete clear-out in the US in order to reset relations with the White House then more left-field names are likely to be considered.

George Osborne’s former chief of staff, Rupert Harrison, set a hare running today by suggesting the former Chancellor could be in for the role.

Nigel Farage is the second favourite for the job with the bookies, but the Brexit Party leader has ruled himself out and the chances of the government appointing him appear slim.

The third favourite is Olly Robbins.

However, Mr Robbins has served as the top government official on Brexit in recent years – and would be completely unacceptable to most Eurosceptics.

He has already announced he is leaving the civil service.

But Mr Hunt was unequivocal as he said he would not replace Sir Kim until the veteran diplomat retires.
Mr Johnson repeatedly dodged the question over Sir Kim’s future, prompting the Foreign Secretary to try to pin him down on the issue.
Mr Hunt said: ‘I will keep him until he is due to retire and I think we would like to know if you would.’
Mr Johnson replied: ‘I am not going to be so presumptuous… what I will say is I, and I alone, will decide who takes important politically sensitive jobs such as the UK ambassador to the US.’
Tom Tugendhat, the Tory chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, appeared to take a shot at Mr Johnson as he responded to the resignation by tweeting: ‘Leaders stand up for their men.
‘They encourage them to try and defend them when they fail.’
Sir Alan had earlier called Mr Johnson an ‘utter wimp’ after he failed to guarantee Sir Kim’s future.
He tweeted after last night’s debate had concluded: ‘Am severely disappointed that Boris Johnson appears unwilling to stand up for our Ambassador to the US, our PM or our country.
‘What does that tell you? Utter wimp when the crunch comes when he should be making a stand. Err… next PM???’
The clash during an ITV Tory leadership debate came after Mr Hunt had earlier demanded Mr Trump treat the UK ‘with respect’ as he criticised the US President for attacking Mrs May.
Before the debate the Foreign Secretary said Mr Trump was ‘disrespectful and wrong’ to have called Mrs May a ‘disaster’ and Sir Kim a ‘pompous fool’ as he upped the stakes in the worsening row with the US over the leaked memos.
The US President had described Sir Kim as a ‘very stupid guy’ who had been ‘foisted upon the United States’ and labelled Mrs May’s handling of Brexit a ‘mess’ before then calling her ‘foolish’.
Mr Trump’s comments added fuel to the fire of what was already an incredibly damaging row between the two old allies.
Who is Sir Kim Darroch, the veteran diplomat who has just quit as Britain’s man in Washington?
Sir Kim was handed one of the most prestigious jobs in the diplomatic service several months before Donald Trump’s shock ascendancy to the White House.
But his name soon rose to prominence in the public arena after the president’s election victory – when Mr Trump promptly called for Nigel Farage to be the UK’s man in Washington instead.
In a highly unusual intervention, the president declared in a late-night tweet that Mr Farage would do a ‘great job’ and that ‘many people’ wanted to see him as the UK’s ambassador in the US.
Number 10 was forced to insist there was ‘no vacancy’ and praised Sir Kim for being an ‘excellent ambassador’.
In his first interview after the controversy, Sir Kim hailed Mr Trump’s ‘historic and impressive’ election victory and called the so-called special relationship between the US and the UK ‘stronger than ever’.
The diplomat had earlier hit the headlines when, shortly after Mr Trump’s election win, the Sunday Times reported on a secret memo in which Sir Kim apparently suggested the UK could exploit Mr Trump’s character and inexperience in office.
The memo said: ‘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.
‘Having, we believe, built better relationships with his team than have the rest of Washington diplomatic corps, we should be well placed to do this.’
In the latest leaked memos, dated from 2017 to the present, Sir Kim described Mr Trump’s White House as ‘uniquely dysfunctional’ and ‘inept’.
But in an interview with the Financial Times last year, the diplomat gave the president a more ringing endorsement, saying: ‘I have met him seven or eight times and always found him to be absolutely charming.’
Sir Kim is considered something of a veteran in the diplomatic arena, with a career spanning three decades.
Prior to taking on the role of UK ambassador to the US in January 2016, the 65-year-old served as national security adviser to former prime minister David Cameron.
He was secretary of the National Security Council until September 2015 and led on issues such as the rise of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Russian aggression in Ukraine, the nuclear threat from Iran and the collapse of government authority in Libya.
Between 2007 and 2011 he served in Brussels as the UK Permanent Representative to the European Union, representing UK interests in areas such as the aftermath of the financial crisis and the issues around European integration.
He joined the diplomatic service in 1977 after graduating from Durham University with a degree in zoology.