IT took a statesman of William Hague’s stature to cut to the chase over the memos sent by Sir Kim Darroch – Britain’s ambassador to Washington – to the Foreign Office about President Donald Trump’s prickliness.
This issue is not about Brexit – or the Tory leadership – as some question the neutrality of the Civil Service. It is about the treatment of diplomats representing this country overseas.
And, as Lord Hague intimated, the real culprit is the individual who chose to expose Sir Kim, just months before his stint in the United States comes to an end, and their motivation as President Trump vents his fury.
Yet, listening to the former Foreign Secretary speak with such assurance, makes it all the more regrettable that the ex-Richmond MP is ineligible to become Tory leader.
Not only was he always willing to engage in thoughtful debates with his opponents but he is the one public figure who has come to Sir Kim’s defence. Lord Hague is right when he says that it should be “completely unacceptable” for any official to be forced from their post for simply speaking the truth.
After all, one of the primary duties of ambassadors is to provide the type of insight that Sir Kim provided. The problem is that he was betrayed. As Lord Hague added: “After Brexit, we are going to need, more than ever, that strong and professional network of most able diplomats. If, however, we stop asking the most experienced among them for the unvarnished truth, we might as well not bother.”
Coupled with the Rotherham-born politician’s direct challenge to Boris Johnson, the most likely next Prime Minister, not to suspend Parliament in order to force through a no-deal Brexit, the hope – and it is probably a forlorn one – is that Lord Hague’s expertise, and the counsel of those with a similar world view, can still be utilised by the next Government. It is needed more than ever.