How damaged are UK/US relations after the Mail on Sunday published leaked diplomatic cables in which the UK's ambassador suggested Donald Trump was inept? The answer it seems is very bad. This evening the US president took to social media to express his dissatisfaction at the leak – and the UK government. In the tweets, Trump says his team will no longer deal with ambassador Sir Kim Darroch. He says he is 'very critical' of Theresa May's handling of Brexit: 'What a mess she and her representatives have created'. He then goes on to see the bright side:
'The good news for the wonderful United Kingdom is that they will soon have a new Prime Minister.'
Trump and May's relationship has been strained for a long time. On the state visit, No. 10 officials were pleasantly surprised that Trump did not publicly criticise May and was instead on best behaviour. The leak of private communications between Sir Kim Darroch and the government means that Trump feels no need to play ball.
With Theresa May on the way out anyway does it matter? With a new prime minister in No.10 in a matter of weeks, there will be a new opportunity to reset the relationship with the Trump administration. May's successor will be under pressure to replace Darroch – and to replace him with a political candidate rather than a neutral diplomat. Whether or not they do so will be a test for the role they see for the diplomatic service in the future.