UK ambassador to Washington quits after leaked memo spat

After the leak of diplomatic cables that were heavily critical of US President Donald Trump, Britain's ambassador in Washington, Kim Darroch, has resigned. Trump had said his White House would no longer work with the envoy.

Darroch on Wednesday said he was resigning after his criticism of Donald Trump's White House drew the ire of the US president on Twitter.

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The envoy said that, although his posting being due to end later this year, he believed it would be better to leave early.

"The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like," Darroch wrote in his resignation letter. "I believe in the current circumstances the responsible course is to allow the appointment of a new ambassador."

In the cables, Darroch had described Trump as "radiating insecurity" and described his administration as "clumsy and inept."

US President Donald Trump lashed out against Darroch in a series of tweets, branding the envoy "wacky” and "very stupid," and said he would no longer deal with the diplomat.

In the same Twitter barrage, Trump also branded UK Prime Minister Theresa May "foolish" for not following his advice on Brexit negotiations. On his state visit to the UK in June, Trump confirmed he told May how to leave the European Union, but admitted he did not know if the strategy would have worked.

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Darroch's future as the UK's ambassador came up as one of the issues in a bad-tempered television debate between the two rival candidates to succeed May as Conservative party leader and UK prime minister later this month.

Boris Johnson, who is favorite to take over as premier, had refused to be drawn on whether he would keep Darroch in post. Johnson's opponent, Jeremy Hunt, promised he would retain the ambassador in his Washington role.

rc/jm (Reuters, AP, dpa, AFP)

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