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UK PM stands by embattled ambassador

By JONATHAN POWELL in London | China Daily | Updated: 2019-07-10 09:20
British PM Theresa May gives her final military speech on June 8, 2019, before leaving office later this month at UK's Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) and Nato's maritime headquarters in Northwood, north-west London. [Photo/IC]

May stresses it is Darroch's job to provide 'unvarnished' view of US administration

Downing Street has expressed fresh support for the United Kingdom's ambassador to the United States after US President Donald Trump said his administration would no longer deal with Kim Darroch.

Trump's latest remarks came a day after leaked diplomatic cables revealed that Darroch called the Trump administration "inept", "incompetent" and "uniquely dysfunctional".

Trump posted on Twitter: "I have been very critical about the way the UK and Prime Minister Theresa May handled Brexit. What a mess she and her representatives have created."

"I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not liked or well thought of within the US we will no longer deal with him.

"While I thoroughly enjoyed the magnificent State Visit last month, it was the Queen who I was most impressed with!"

Darroch was "disinvited" from a dinner at the White House on Monday evening with the emir of Qatar, at which the president was in attendance.

Christopher Meyer, an ex-British ambassador to the US and a close friend of Darroch's, said there was a "possible range of villains" who could have made the leak.

Meyer told the BBC: "It was clearly somebody who set out deliberately to sabotage Sir Kim's ambassadorship, to make his position untenable and to have him replaced by somebody more congenial to the leaker."

Darroch, who is due to step down in a few months, gave a brutal assessment of Trump in the leaked memos dating back to 2017. In one, he questioned whether the White House "will ever look competent".

May, who is stepping down after failing to cut a deal to lead the country out of the European Union, has said she still has full confidence in Darroch. She stressed that while it was the ambassador's job to provide "an honest and unvarnished view" of the US administration, she was not necessarily required to agree with everything he wrote.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: "We have made clear to the US how unfortunate this leak is. The selective extracts leaked do not reflect the closeness of, and the esteem in which we hold, the relationship."

"At the same time we have also underlined the importance of ambassadors being able to provide honest, unvarnished assessments of the politics in their country.

"The UK has a special and enduring relationship with the US based on our long history and commitment to shared values and that will continue to be the case."

May said she rejected Darroch's description of Trump as inept and insecure, as she launched an inquiry into the leak.

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