If there was a right-wing plot inside the U.K. government to force the ouster of British Ambassador to the U.S. Kim Darroch by leaking private diplomatic cables—as some journalists and commentators speculated—the effort achieved at least part of its desired outcome on Wednesday when Darroch announced his resignation.
After the leaked memos revealed that Darroch described U.S. President Donald Trump as "inept," "clumsy," and "incompetent," a number of British observers suggested the leaks may have been part of an attempt to clear the way for Prime Minister Theresa May's replacement to appoint a pro-Trump, pro-Brexit ambassador, such as right-wing Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.
The favorite to succeed May, who plans to step down as soon as her replacement is appointed, is Boris Johnson.
Appearing to lend credence to the growing speculation, Farage quickly celebrated Darroch's resignation in a tweet on Wednesday:
The right decision, time put in a non-Remainer who wants a trade deal with America. https://t.co/mGnGeeGES3
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) July 10, 2019
Trump predictably responded with fury to Darroch's private assessment of his White House, which he portrayed as "uniquely dysfunctional."
"I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not liked or well thought of within the U.S.," Trump tweeted on Monday, hours after the right-wing British tabloid Mail on Sunday reported on the cables. "We will no longer deal with him."
The Intercept's Robert Mackey wrote Tuesday that "the president's angry denunciation of the previously obscure diplomat... was so predictable, it looked to some observers like the intended outcome of a plot, hatched in London, to depose the ambassador in Washington by leaking his confidential briefing notes."
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Mackey pointed to British observers who speculated that the cables were leaked to allow May's replacement to appoint a more pro-Trump diplomat, with Farage being one possible choice.
It seems the deliberate leaking of Kim Darroch’s email was aimed at undermining him, so the new unelected Tory PM can appoint a Trumpian patsy to Washington. I wonder who might have been behind such a thing.
— Ben Bradshaw (@BenPBradshaw) July 8, 2019
People I trust, competent, well placed friends, suspect Kim Darroch is victim of a dark conspiracy and that Farage gets his job under Johnson. Can this actually be true? @BBCJonSopel said as much on the 10.
— David Yelland (@davidyelland) July 7, 2019
Peter Ricketts, a former British ambassador to France, wrote in a column for The Guardian on Monday that "someone inside the British system deliberately amassed a stash of his assessments, then chose the moment of maximum impact to leak it."
"This was not a spontaneous decision to make public a single document: it required premeditation and therefore an agenda," wrote Ricketts.
In response to Darroch's resignation Wednesday, Guardian columnist Owen Jones tweeted: "We're on course to become the 51st state of Donald Trump's USA, with Boris Johnson as his consul. Taking back control indeed."