Scotland Yard launches criminal investigation into Sir Kim Darroch leaks

Martin Evans
Sir Kim Darroch resigned after sensitive diplomatic emails were leaked - Getty Images North America

Scotland Yard has launched a criminal investigation into the alleged leaking of diplomatic emails involving Britain's former ambassador to the United States, Sir Kim Darroch.

The Met's Counter Terror Command, which looks after allegations involving breaches of the Official Secrets Act, will lead the investigation.

In a statement, Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu urged the person responsible to hand themselves in and face the consequences.

He said the leak had caused damage to the UK's international relations and there was a clear public interest in bringing the personal responsible to justice.

The leak of the diplomatic cables - in which Sir Kim was critical of President Trump - led to a spat between the White House and Britain.

The US President branded Sir Kim a "very stupid guy" and said his administration would no longer cooperate with him. Sir Kim stepped down an ambassador to the US on Wednesday, saying it was "impossible" for him to continue.

Setting out the terms of the criminal investigation, Mr Basu said: "“Following a cross-government investigation led by the Cabinet Office, a Gateway Process has occurred today with the Metropolitan Police into the alleged leaking of official communications involving Sir Kim Darroch.

“As a result the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command, who take national responsibility for investigating allegations of criminal breaches of the Official Secrets Act, has launched a criminal investigation.

“Given the widely reported consequences of that leak I am satisfied that there has been damage caused to UK international relations, and there would be clear public interest in bringing the person or people responsible to justice."

Mr Basu went on: “The investigation will be reviewed at every stage to ensure a proportionate investigation is undertaken.

“I would say to the person or people who did this, the impact of what you have done is obvious. However, you are now also responsible for diverting busy detectives from undertaking their core mission. You can stop this now. Turn yourself in at the earliest opportunity, explain yourself and face the consequences.

“Also, to anyone who knows or suspects those responsible, or who has any information, please come forward.

“Exercise your public and civic duty and call the police on 0800 789321 without delay. That call will be treated in strictest confidence.

“The publication of leaked communications, knowing the damage they have caused or are likely to cause may also be a criminal matter.

“I would advise all owners, editors and publishers of social and mainstream media not to publish leaked government documents that may already be in their possession, or which may be offered to them, and to turn them over to the police or give them back to their rightful owner, Her Majesty’s Government.”