UK envoy said Trump ditched Iran deal to spite Obama

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionTrump'I wish the British ambassador well

"However, you are now also responsible for diverting busy detectives from undertaking their core mission", Basu said, adding that anyone with information about the alleged leak or those responsible should contact the police.

Osborne described Basu's statement as "ill-advised", saying: "If I were the Metropolitan Police commissioner, and I wanted to maintain my credibility and the credibility of my force, I would quickly distance myself from this very stupid and ill-advised statement from a junior officer, who doesn't appear to understand much about press freedom".

Almost a week after the cables were leaked, Basu's announcement of the investigation ended with a pointed call to the media.

"The publication of these specific documents, now knowing they may be a breach of the OSA, could also constitute a criminal offence and one that carries no public interest defense", said Neil Basu, who heads the investigation as chief of counter-terrorism unit.

He urged whoever was responsible to turn themselves in and "face the consequences".

British police drew criticism on Saturday over a warning to journalists during a probe into a leak that led to the resignation of the ambassador to Washington.

"A prosecution on this basis would amount to an infringement on press freedom and have a chilling effect on public debate", Johnson said at a campaign event Saturday.

"This is simply not acceptable in a free society and will act as a huge deterrent to whistle-blowers". If Darroch's leaked memos are anything to go by, however, there could be more at play within the US' political structure than in US-Iran relations.

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MP Tom Tugenhadt, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, told Radio 4's Today programme that it was "a reasonable request" to ask the media not to publish leaked documents which undermine security, but he "doubted" whether it was a crime.

However, former defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the leak was a clear breach of the Official Secrets Act, and that the Government and the police were entitled to try to prevent further disclosures.

Memos from Darroch describing the Trump administration as inept were leaked to a British newspaper, infuriating Trump, who launched a Twitter attack on Tuesday on both the envoy and outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, who had given Darroch her full support. They say they want editors to know publishing them may be against the law because there is a criminal investigation underway into whether the original leak violated the Officials Secret Act.

Sir Darroch then resigned on Wednesday, saying his job was now "impossible" as a result of the leak.

The memo was written after then-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson visited Washington in a failed attempt to persuade the USA not to abandon the Iran nuclear agreement.

Tory leadership contenders Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt were among those to condemn the police approach.

"(Darroch) said that what somebody had relayed to him had certainly been a factor in his resignation", he told BBC television in a testy interview. He said Trump may "emerge from the flames, battered but intact, like (Arnold) Schwarzenegger in the final scenes of The Terminator".

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