Jeremy Hunt Warns Of 'Serious Consequences' For Source Of Secret Cables Leak

Diplomatic crisis deepens after Donald Trump hits back at British ambassador.

Jeremy Hunt has warned there will be “serious consequences” for the person who leaked secret diplomatic cables written by the British ambassador in the United States.

The Foreign Office has launched a leak inquiry after memos written by Sir Kim Darroch which described Donald Trump’s administration as “inept” were handed to the Mail on Sunday.

The US President has hit back by attacking Sir Kim as having “not served the UK well”.

Speaking in London this morning, Hunt said while he did not agree with all of Sir Kim’s views of Trump it was the ambassador’s job to give his opinion.

“It’s very important that our ambassadors and high commissioners continue to feel they are able to express those frank views,” he said.

“It is not acceptable todo this because it fundamentally undermines the brilliant work done by the the FCO all over the world.”

The foreign secretary added: “There will be very serious consequences if and when we find out who is responsible.”

Earlier today International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, who is on a visit to Washington DC, said the leak was “unprofessional, unethical and unpatriotic”.

“I think it is unconscionable that any professional person in either politics of the civil service can behave in this way,” he told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme.

Fox added he would be “apologising” to the president’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump when he meets her today.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage – who the US president once suggested would make a great ambassador – said Sir Kim was “totally unsuitable for the job and the sooner he is gone the better”.

Trump – who was described as “radiating insecurity” in Sir Kim’s assessment – was clearly annoyed by the leak.

He told reporters: “The ambassador has not served the UK well, I can tell you that.

“We are not big fans of that man and he has not served the UK well. So I can understand it, and I can say things about him but I won’t bother.”

In the cache of documents, Sir Kim gives a scathing assessment of the White House: “We don’t really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept.”

He questioned whether the White House “will ever look competent”.

Following Mr Trump’s state visit to the UK in June, Sir Kim warned that although the president had been “dazzled” by the pomp and ceremony of the trip, his administration would remain self-interested and “this is still the land of America First”.

In one of the most recent documents, Sir Kim refers to “incoherent, chaotic” US policy on Iran and questions Trump’s publicly stated reason for calling off a retaliatory air strike against Tehran following the downing of an American drone.

The US and Iran have been at the brink of armed conflict over tensions in the Gulf, and Trump stated that he called off a planned air strike with minutes to spare because of the potentially high number of casualties.

But Sir Kim said that the explanation “doesn’t stand up”, and suggested it may have been motivated by Trump’s focus on the 2020 re-election campaign and his previous promises not to involve the US in foreign conflicts.

“It’s more likely that he was never fully on board and that he was worried about how this apparent reversal of his 2016 campaign promises would look come 2020,” Sir Kim said.

He said it was “unlikely that US policy on Iran is going to become more coherent any time soon” as “this is a divided administration”.

In a particularly sensitive leak, a 2017 letter to the National Security Adviser Sir Mark Sedwill – sent 150 days into the Trump administration – laid bare the trouble in the White House.

Media reports of “vicious infighting and chaos” were “mostly true” despite the president’s attempts to brush them off.

Referring to the early allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, the memo said “the worst cannot be ruled out”.


What's Hot