Theresa May: Ambassador has 'full support' following leaked Trump memos

8 July 2019, 19:39 | Updated: 9 July 2019, 10:17

Theresa May has given the UK's ambassador to the US her "full support" after Donald Trump said he would no longer deal with Sir Kim Darroch.

It comes after a pair of tweets in which the US president said Mrs May had made a "mess" of Brexit and that the "good news" for the UK was that "they will soon have a new prime minister".

Mr Trump's attack followed the leaking of memos from Sir Kim, in which Mr Trump is described as "incompetent", "inept" and "insecure".

The US president tweeted that Sir Kim was "not liked or well thought of within the US", adding: "We will no longer deal with him."

He said previously that Sir Kim "has not served the UK well".

Downing Street responded by saying Sir Kim "continues to have the prime minister's full support".

A spokesperson added: "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."

Mr Trump's comments - just a month after his state visit to the UK - came ahead of a meeting between International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and his daughter Ivanka in Washington later on Monday.

Alexander Vershbow, a former US ambassador to Russia and South Korea, told Sky News it was not surprising that the president had tweeted such comments.

"President Trump is very thin-skinned when it comes to public criticism," he said.

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Mr Vershbow added that Sir Kim would probably "have to shorten his tenure in Washington", but he doubted the relationship between the US and UK would be damaged.

Also on Twitter, Mr Trump said he had "told" Theresa May how Brexit "should be done", but she "decided to go another way", adding: "What a mess she and her representatives have created."

The only person Mr Trump had something good to say about was the Queen, who he was "impressed with" during the state visit.

In a pair of messages, the US president said: "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 told her how it should be done, but she decided to go another way. I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not liked or well....

"....thought of within the U.S. We will no longer deal with him."

A former UK ambassador to the US has said that whoever leaked the messages wanted to sabotage Sir Kim in order to replace him with someone "more congenial".

Sir Christopher Meyer said there was a "possible range of villains" who could be responsible, telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Here there is a possible range of villains who come into the frame.

"But 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."

Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan has said police could take action if "evidence of criminality is found" in the leak of Sir Kim Darroch's memos.

"If evidence of criminality is found, then yes, the police could be involved," he told MPs.

"The most important focus is to establish who is responsible for this despicable leak."

Earlier, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned there would be "serious consequences" for whoever is responsible for leaked the memos.