London, 10 July 2019 (dpa/MIA) – Britain’s ambassador to the United States resigned on Wednesday after a diplomatic storm over leaked cables in which he criticized President Donald Trump, with opposition lawmakers claiming he was “bullied” out of his job.
“The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like,” Kim Darroch said in his resignation letter quoted by the Foreign Office.
In reply, junior minister Simon McDonald thanked Darroch for his service and told him Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt “have stood with you” after a fierce response to the leak by Trump.
“You were the target of a malicious leak; you were simply doing your job,” McDonald wrote to Darroch.
Speaking to lawmakers later, McDonald said he fears there “may be more” leaks.
He said the leak of Darroch’s comments was the worst breach of trust he had seen in a 37-year diplomatic career, adding that he had seen nothing similar to Trump’s treatment of a British ambassador.
The row over the internal memos, leaked to the Mail on Sunday, escalated on Tuesday after Trump called him a “very stupid guy” who was “foisted upon the United States.”
In the leaked cables, Darroch called the Trump administration “dysfunctional” and said the president has a short attention span.
Trump had already hit back at Darroch, tweeting on Monday that the US would no longer deal with him.
Trump again accused May of ignoring his advice on Brexit, and going “her own foolish way.”
Hunt, who is vying with frontrunner Boris Johnson to succeed May as Conservative leader, called the tweets “disrespectful and wrong.”
He tweeted that he was “deeply saddened” by Darroch’s resignation.
Hunt had said on Tuesday that if he beat Johnson, Darroch would remain in his post.
But Johnson declined to make a similar commitment and did not support Darroch during a televised debate with Hunt late Tuesday.
He was widely criticized on Wednesday by opposition lawmakers, and some Conservatives.
Alan Duncan, a junior foreign office minister, told the BBC he was angry that Johnson had “dived for cover and threw [Darroch] under a bus.”
“We are dealing with a president who does not follow any of the normal rules of international diplomacy,” Duncan said.
Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said Darroch was “bullied out of his job,” accusing Johnson of “humiliating, servile, sycophantic indulgence of the American president’s ego.”
Johnson should “hang his head in shame,” Thornberry said in a statement.
Johnson told the BBC later that he regretted the resignation of the “superb diplomat.”
“And I think that whoever leaked his [cables] really has done a grave disservice to our civil servants,” Jonhson said, without mentioning Trump.
Liberal Democrat lawmaker Chuka Umunna tweeted that Johnson was “more interested in dancing to the tune of the racist, Islamophobic and sexist President Trump than he is in standing up for a long-standing British diplomat.”
Veteran eurosceptic and Trump supporter Nigel Farage said Darroch’s resignation was “the right decision.”
“Time [to] put in a non-Remainer who wants a trade deal with America,” tweeted Farage, who leads the new Brexit Party.