Friday 7 February 2020 1:19 pm

UK appoints first female US ambassador

The government has appointed a new US ambassador after the last person to hold the post quit in the wake of leaked messages about President Donald Trump. 

Dame Karen Pierce will become the new UK ambassador to the US at a crucial time – with Trump reported to have been “livid” about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to keep Huawei as a 5G partner.

Read more: Boris Johnson’s disastrous Huawei decision is an act of national self-harm

The Trump administration is now required to formalise the appointment by giving its consent after Prime Minister Boris Johnson approved foreign secretary Dominic Raab’s choice today.

Pierce is currently the ambassador to the UN in New York and a permanent representative at the UN Security Council.

She will become the first woman to hold the role of US ambassador.

Raab said:

It is a time of huge opportunity for the friendship between the UK and US and I am delighted that Karen Pierce will take forward this exciting new chapter in our relationship. We’re proud to be sending to Washington such an outstanding diplomat, and I warmly congratulate her on her appointment.

“I am honoured to have been asked to represent the UK in the US,” Pierce added.

“I think it is the UK’s single most important relationship. There is a deep bond between Britain and the US, built on many pillars. 

“We have a fantastic cross-government team across the US and I look forward to working with them to strengthen and even further deepen the special relationship between our two countries and peoples.”

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Pierce joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 1981 and she worked as a private secretary to the British ambassador to the US in the ‘90s. She also held a string of positions in London including head of the UK’s Afrghanistan Political Military Unit after the 9/11 attack.

Her appointment comes at a key time in relations between the countries.

President Trump, who was acquitted at an impeachment trial earlier this week, was reportedly furious that the UK has kept Huawei on as a partner in its 5G network.

Trump was reportedly “apoplectic” in a phone call following Johnson’s decision to keep Huawei as a 5G provider, according to the Financial Times.

Read more: Sir Kim Darroch quits as UK ambassador to US in wake of leaked Trump emails

The Prime Minister has declined to comment on the report.

Pierce’s predecessor, Sir Kim Darroch, left the post last July after leaked emails he had written portraying a critical depiction of Trump strained ties between the UK and US.

“The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like,” Darroch said at the time.