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Sir Kim Darroch has resigned as British ambassador to the United States

The UK ambassador to the US Kim Darroch

Sir Kim Darroch has resigned as British ambassador to the United States.

In a letter to Sir Simon McDonald, the permanent under secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 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.

His decision came after President Trump said the White House would no longer have any dealings with him following the leak of the dispatches describing his administration as "inept" and "dysfunctional". 

Donald Trump in turn called Sir Kim a "pompous fool" and said that he was a "very stupid guy".

Sir Kim said in his resignation letter: "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.

"I am grateful to all those in the UK and the US, who have offered their support during this difficult few days. This has brought home to me the depth of friendship and close ties between our two countries. I have been deeply touched.

"I am also grateful to all those with whom I have worked over the last four decades, particularly my team here in the US. The professionalism and integrity of the British civil service is the envy of the world. I will leave it full of confidence that its values remain in safe hands."

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. 

Tory leadership front runner Boris Johnson repeatedly refused to say whether he would keep Sir Kim in post if he became prime minister.

Today Mr Johnson said he regretted the news because "he is a superb diplomat and I worked with him for many years".

"I think whoever leaked his diptels (diplomatic telegrams) really has done a grave disservice to our civil servants, to people who give impartial advice to ministers.

"I hope that whoever it is, is run down, caught and eviscerated, quite frankly, because it is not right that advice to ministers that civil servants must be able to make in a spirit of freedom should be leaked.

"It is not right that civil servants' careers and prospects should be dragged into the political agenda."

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was "deeply saddened" by Sir Kim Darroch's resignation.

He said: "For 42 years, Sir Kim served his country with the utmost dedication and distinction.

"His career took him from Tokyo to Brussels, from Downing Street - where he became National Security Adviser - to our Embassy in Washington. If one theme ran through all his endeavours, it was his unswerving devotion to upholding the interests of the United Kingdom, in the best tradition of British diplomacy.

"In that spirit, he brought dispassionate insight and directness to his reporting to ministers in London. Whenever I visited Washington as Foreign Secretary, I was struck by Sir Kim's professionalism and intellect. I am outraged that a selection of his reports should have been leaked.

"I am sure that our ambassadors worldwide will continue to provide the objective and rigorous reporting that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has always prized.

"I profoundly regret how this episode has led Sir Kim to decide to resign. He deserves to look back upon his career as a servant of Britain with the greatest satisfaction and pride."

In response to Sir Kim's letter, Sir Simon said: "On behalf of the Diplomatic Service, I accept your resignation with deep personal regret.

"Over the last few difficult days you have behaved as you have always behaved over a long and distinguished career, with dignity, professionalism and class.

"The Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and whole of the public service have stood with you: you were the target of a malicious leak; you were simply doing your job. I understand your wish to relieve the pressure on your family and your colleagues at the Embassy; I admire the fact that you think more of others than yourself. You demonstrate the essence of the values of British public service.

"I want to stress my deep appreciation for all you have done over the last four decades. In a series of demanding roles - including National Security Adviser and Permanent Representative to the European Union - you have loyally served the government of the day without fear or favour. We have been lucky to have you as a friend and colleague. You are the best of us."

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