Britain has been in touch with Donald Trump’s White House to express regret over the leak of confidential emails in which the ambassador to the US called the President’s administration “dysfunctional” and “inept”.
The messages from Sir Kim Darroch, the UK’s ambassador to Washington, were leaked to the Mail on Sunday over the weekend. Yesterday, Trump retaliated by saying his team was “not big fans” of Darroch.
“Contact has been made with the Trump administration, setting out our view that we believe the leak is unacceptable,” Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman told reporters. “It is, of course, a matter of regret that this has happened.”
Meanwhile trade minister Liam Fox, who is visiting Washington, told the BBC he would apologise to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, whom he is due to meet.
“I will be apologising for the fact that either our civil service or elements of our political class have not lived up to the expectations that either we have or the United States has about their behaviour, which in this particular case has lapsed in a most extraordinary and unacceptable way,” he said.
“Malicious leaks of this nature … can actually lead to a damage to that relationship, which can therefore affect our wider security interest.”
In the emails, Darroch said the White House had become “uniquely dysfunctional” under Trump, and questioned whether it “will ever look competent”.
The revelations come as Britain hopes to strike a major trade deal with the US after it leaves the European Union, currently scheduled for 31 October.
Fox echoed a statement from the Foreign Office that the views Darroch had expressed were not those of the British government itself. Former defence minister Michael Fallon said Darroch’s term as ambassador was due to come to an end soon.
“All ambassadors are asked to report all the time honestly about the different strengths and weaknesses of the governments they are posted to,” he told BBC radio. “It’s obviously damaging to any relationship when this sort of stuff gets published.”
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