Donald Trump issued a fresh threat to Iran on Twitter today.
Donald Trump issued a fresh threat to Iran on Twitter today.

Trump attacks UK's May, British ambassador

US President Donald Trump has attacked British Prime Minister Theresa May and her ambassador to Washington, while Britain voiced regret for a leak of confidential memos.

The memos from ambassador to Washington Kim Darroch calling Trump's administration "dysfunctional" and "inept" were divulged to a Sunday newspaper.

"Contact has been made with the Trump administration, setting out our view that we believe the leak is unacceptable," May's spokesman told reporters on Monday.

"It is, of course, a matter of regret that this has happened."

Trump responded on Twitter by criticising May's handling of Brexit and saying she disregarded his advice.

"What a mess she and her representatives have created," he wrote.

"I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not liked or well thought of within the U.S. We will no longer deal with him.

"The good news for the wonderful United Kingdom is that they will soon have a new Prime Minister. While I thoroughly enjoyed the magnificent State Visit last month, it was the Queen who I was most impressed with!" he wrote.

Trade minister Liam Fox is visiting Washington and told BBC radio he would apologise to Trump's daughter Ivanka, whom he was due to meet.

"I will be apologising for the fact that either our civil service or elements of our political class have not lived up to the expectations that either we have or the United States has about their behaviour, which in this particular case has lapsed in a most extraordinary and unacceptable way," he said.

"Malicious leaks of this nature ... can actually lead to a damage to that relationship, which can therefore affect our wider security interest."

It was unclear whether his message had been relayed before Trump posted his tweet.

It was the US president's second broadside against the British ambassador, whom he criticised on Sunday as not having "served the UK well".

The revelations come at a time when Britain is hoping to strike a major trade deal with its closest ally after it leaves the EU, an exit scheduled for October 31.

In confidential memos to his government dating from 2017 to the present, Darroch said reports of in-fighting in the White House were "mostly true".

He described confusion within the administration over Trump's decision to call off a military strike on Iran last month.

"We don't really believe this Administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept," Darroch wrote in one memo.

British ministers said the government did not agree with Darroch, although May's spokesman said she had full faith in him.

Foreign minister and British leadership contender Jeremy Hunt promised "serious consequences" for whoever had leaked the memos.

"I have made it clear that I don't share the ambassador's assessment of either the US administration or relations with the US administration, but I do defend his right to make that frank assessment," he said.

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