Johnson attacked over failure to back UK ambassador over leaks

11 July 2019

(Sharecast News) - Conservative leadership favourite Boris Johnson was accused of throwing Britain's ambassador to Washington "under the bus" over a leak of official communication to London.
Johnson, widely expected to become the next UK prime minister, repeatedly failed to back Sir Kim Darroch when challenged in a television debate this week with Tory leadership rival Jeremy Hunt.

Darroch reportedly felt that he could not continue in his role without Johnson's support, should he take over as prime minister and resigned on Wednesday.

He had taken the fall for criticising US President Donald Trump's administration as "inept", its policy toward Iran "incoherent," and raised doubts about whether the White House "will ever look competent".

"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," one of the secret diplomatic cables stated.

Senior Conservative MPs joined the direct criticism of the leadership contender, describing his conduct as "unedifying" and "contemptible", the Guardian reported. Supporters of Darroch said he was simply performing his duties and had made statements that were widely reported about the current White House in mainstream media on an almost daily basis.

In parliament on Wednesday, outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May implicitly backed Darroch and in a barb that seemed to be aimed at Johnson said: "I hope the House (of Commons) will reflect on the importance of defending our values and principles, particularly when they are under pressure."

Johnson's behaviour was also attacked for appearing to place his potential future relationship with Trump over protecting UK civil servants in the hope that doing Washington's bidding would be viewed favourably when trying to strike a post Brexit trade deal with the US.

An internal inquiry is underway to track the source of the leak. Isabel Oakeshott, who wrote the story, is a heavily pro-Brexit journalist with close ties to Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage and his major donor Arron Banks.

Trump said in 2016 that Farage would "do a great job" as ambassador to Washington.