(GUA) Kim Darroch resigns as UK ambassador to US after leaked Trump comment

(GUA) Resignation letter says ‘situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like’

Sir Kim Darroch
 Sir Kim Darroch Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Sir Kim Darroch, the UK ambassador to Washington who has been at the centre of a diplomatic row over leaked cables criticising Donald Trump, has resigned his post, the Foreign Office has said.

In a letter to Simon McDonald, the most senior official at the Foreign Office, Darroch said the row, in which Trump has called the ambassador “a pompous fool” and “very stupid”, meant he could not continue.

“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,” he wrote.

“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.”

In response to Darroch’s letter, McDonald said that he accepted the resignation with “deep personal regret” and praised him for behaving throughout the controversy “as you have always behaved over a long and distinguished career, with dignity, professionalism and class”.

McDonald added: “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.”

Speaking in the House of Commons shortly after the news emerged, Theresa May praised Darroch for “a lifetime of service to the United Kingdom”. She added: “We owe him an enormous debt of gratitude. I hope the house will reflect on the importance of defending our values and principles particularly when they are under pressure.”

Jeremy Corbyn called the treatment of Darroch “beyond unfair and wrong” and said that he had given “honourable and good service”.

“The whole house should join together in deeply regretting the feeling he’s got that he must resign at this moment,” he said.