George Osborne says Met investigation of Darroch leaks encroaches press freedom

Police officers outside the Houses of Parliament in London England

Police officers outside the Houses of Parliament in London England

British Ambassador Kim Darroch hosts an event at the British Embassy in Washington, October 20, 2017.

Officially, Trump had claimed that the USA is pulling out of the deal because it was "decaying" and 'defective to its core.' The pact, signed in 2015, had limited Iran's nuclear capabilities and in exchange, ensured economic sanctions on the country were relaxed. It would also allow in global inspectors in return for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.

The Trump presidency could "crash and burn" and that "we could be at the beginning of a downward spiral. that leads to disgrace and downfall".

It followed a question about Britain's ambassador to the United States, Kim Darroch, who resigned in a furore over leaked memos.

Britain's ambassador to Washington believed US President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal because it was associated with his predecessor Barack Obama, according to leaked documents published Saturday.

The British ambassador is said to have highlighted splits amongst U.S. presidential advisors and that the White House did not have a "day-to-day" strategy of what to do following withdrawal from the deal.

"Iran has always been secretly 'enriching, ' in total violation of the bad 150 Billion Dollar deal made by John Kerry and the Obama Administration", Trump wrote.

"They can't articulate any "day-after" strategy; and contacts with State Department this morning suggest no sort of plan for reaching out to partners and allies, whether in Europe or the region", he wrote.

But I defend to the hilt the right of the press to publish those leaks if they receive them and judge them to be in the public interest: "that is their job".

The ambassador was reported to have described the White House as "inept", prompting Trump to claim the ambassador was a "pompous fool" whom he would no longer deal with.

The government launched an internal Whitehall inquiry into the publication following the reports.

In a statement, the London Metropolitan police's assistant commissioner, Neil Basu, said that "given the widely reported consequences of that leak", there had been "damage caused to United Kingdom global relations" and that there "would be clear public interest in bringing the person or people responsible to justice".

Politicians and journalists condemned the "heavy-handed" actions of the Metropolitan Police following the warning that any further release could be a "criminal matter".

The head of Britain's diplomatic service, Simon McDonald, said this week he was "bracing" himself for further leaks.

His rival, Mr Johnson, said it was correct the person responsible for the leak was "hunted down and prosecuted" but it was wrong for police to target the media. Basu urged those behind the cables' publication to spare police the effort and turn themselves in.

The U.K. Official Secrets Act of 1989 effectively criminalizes the unlawful disclosure of certain sensitive information, including matters concerning worldwide relations.

Sir Michael also backed a call by the Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Neil Basu for any news organisations holding leaked government documents to return them.

The Mail on Sunday, which first obtained the trove of leaked memos, has not faced any legal repercussions for its decision to publish. "And, even when you pressed, none had anything much to say about the day after, or a Plan B, beyond reimposition of USA sanctions".

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