British police open investigation into leak of ambassador's memos

Mr Basu warned owners editors and publishers of social and mainstream media not to publish leaked government documents

Metropolitan Police are now investigating the leak of Ambassador Kim Darroch's private assessments of Donald Trump and his administration, which caused a diplomatic crisis this week. "However, you are now also responsible for diverting busy detectives from undertaking their core mission", he said.

Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer, Neil Basu, said on Friday police would investigate who was responsible but also warned journalists and publishers they too could be in breach of the law if further documents were leaked.

"I am satisfied that there has been damage caused to United Kingdom worldwide relations, and there would be clear public interest in bringing the person or people responsible to justice", Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said in a statement announcing the move.

He urged the culprits: "turn yourself in at the earliest opportunity, explain yourself and face the consequences".

In his Twitter storm on Tuesday, Trump described the ambassador as "wacky", "a very stupid guy" and a "pompous fool".

He also advised media owners, editors and publishers not to publish "leaked government documents that may already be in their possession, or which may be offered to them", and instead turn them over to the police or to their owner.

Mr Osborne, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, tweeted that to maintain credibility the Met Commissioner, Cressida Dick, should distance herself from "this very stupid and ill-advised statement from a junior officer who doesn't appear to understand much about press freedom".

Shortly afterwards Sir Kim announced his resignation saying "the current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role".

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He added: "I think that unfortunately what I said on that TV debate was misrepresented to Kim".

After Darroch's resignation, a diplomatic source told Reuters that a lack of support from Johnson during a televised debate with his rival for the premiership, foreign minister Jeremy Hunt, had been a factor in the envoy's decision to quit.

The British government had opened its own inquiry into the leaks this week and noted it had involved the police to ascertain whether any documents protected by the Official Secrets Act had been shared.

"Some people just told me. he actually said very good things about me", Trump said.

In an interview on Friday, Johnson denied he was responsible for Darroch's resignation, but admitted his comments had been a factor. I do not know the ambassador, but he is not liked or well thought of within the US.

Donald Trump reacted angrily on Twitter and cut ties with the British ambassador.

Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May and the Foreign Office have both defended the disgraced envoy, saying, however, that the leaks were regrettable.

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