Sir Kim Darroch has quit as the UK ambassador to the US.
The UK’s most senior diplomat in the US stepped down following a row with Donald Trump after it emerged he had called the US President “inept” in confidential memos.
The US President responded by branding him‘wacky’ and a “very stupid guy”as the damaging diplomatic row escalated.
The fallout has also sparked divisions in the Tory leadership race, with Boris Johnson refusing to back Darroch during a television debate with his leadership rival Jeremy Hunt.
Announcing his resignation in a letter, Sir Kim wrote: “Since the leak of official documents from this Embassy there has been a great deal of speculation surrounding my position and the duration of my remaining term as ambassador. I want to put an end to that speculation.
“The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like.
“Although my posting is not due to end until the end of this year, I believe in the current circumstances the responsible course is to allow the appointment of a new ambassador.”
In his secret memos dating from 2017 to the present, Darroch had said reports of in-fighting in the White House were “mostly true” and last month described confusion within the administration over Trump’s decision to call off a military strike on Iran.
“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,” Darroch wrote in one cable.
The comments sparked an immediate backlash from the President, who lashed out at “foolish” British Prime Minister Theresa May and her “wacky” Washington ambassador on Tuesday.
“The wacky Ambassador that the UK foisted upon the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy,” Trump wrote, describing Darroch as a “pompous fool”.
Prime Minister Theresa May has said she has told Sir Kim Darroch that it is a “matter of great regret” that he has felt it necessary to resign as the UK ambassador to Washington.
British officials have launched an inquiry to find out who was responsible for the leak.