The source who leaked Sir Kim Darroch’s diplomatic cables was exacting revenge over the ambassador’s alleged failure to promote a pro-Brexit Britain in Washington, it was being claimed last night.
Mystery surrounds who leaked the ‘bombshell’ memos and why, prompting the Foreign Office to launch a formal inquiry. But it is understood the source of the leak – either a senior minister or official – did so to highlight their frustration at the failure of the civil service to push Brexit.
According to a source close to Isabel Oakeshott, the political journalist who obtained the leaked memos, they were passed to her – and then published in the Mail on Sunday – because she is a well-known Brexiteer.
The source said: “There are pro-Brexit officials who feel like pariahs and believe the Civil Service is institutionally pro-Remain.
“There is certainly a view that Sir Kim with his long background in Brussels and as a former adviser to Tony Blair on Europe had not made the most of his time in Washington to explore post-Brexit opportunities.”
The correspondence – marked ‘official sensitive’ – was leaked to Ms Oakeshott via a third party.
The memos were widely circulated across the Foreign Office and other Government departments to up to 100 people, according to well-placed sources, making it difficult to trace the mole. But it would require a single official or minister to have access to the whole cache, inevitably casting the spotlight on senior ministers.
On Twitter yesterday, Ms Oakeshott scoffed at conspiracy theories which had gone as far as to suggest that foreign state actors, including Russia, could have been behind the leak.