United Kingdom police investigate Kim Darroch cables

UK police investigate Kim Darroch cables - CNN

UK police investigate Kim Darroch cables - CNN

Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Neil Basu speaks to the media after a auto crashed outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, Britain, August 14, 2018.

The row erupted after the Met announced on Friday it was launching a criminal investigation into the leak of the cables to The Mail on Sunday which resulted in Sir Kim's dramatic resignation.

Evening Standard editor George Osborne described the Met statement as "stupid" and "ill-advised".

They say they want editors to know publishing them may be against the law because there is a criminal investigation underway into whether the original leak violated the Officials Secret Act.

Basu issued a further statement on Saturday, stating that the police respected media rights but reiterating the message that there should be no further publication of the leaked documents and others which he said remained in circulation.

Mr Basu also warned the media that further publication of the ambassador's emails could be a criminal offence, and any leaked documents should be returned to the government.

The foreign secretary's defense of press freedom comes as a surprise to some, given the fact that WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange is in jail on United Kingdom soil as he fights extradition to the U.S. for publishing government leaks.

The Society of Editors executive director Ian Murray said the threat to the media in the police warning was "not acceptable" in a free society. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

The former foreign secretary said his words had been "misrepresented" during a televised leadership debate last night.

His Tory leadership rival Boris 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.

"A prosecution on this basis would amount to an infringement on press freedom and have a chilling effect on public debate".

MP Tom Tugenhadt, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, told Radio 4's Today programme that it was "a reasonable request" to ask the media not to publish leaked documents which undermine security, but he "doubted" whether it was a crime.

London's Metropolitan Police said its terrorism command, which investigates potential breaches of Britain's Official Secrets Act, had initiated the probe into the leaking of Kim Darroch's correspondence.

Trump also said that the USA would "no longer deal with him".

The president hit back by branding the ambassador a "pompous fool", and Darroch resigned, saying it had become impossible for him to do his job.

Darroch stepped down from his role on Wednesday.

Boris Johnson pictured with Sir Kim Darroch at an event in 2017.

He told the BBC that he had spoken on the phone to Sir Kim and the former ambassador told him he had not watched the debate himself, but somebody had told him about the comments.

Sir Kim's career was left hanging in the balance after he questioned whether the White House "will ever look competent" in a string of private messages which were made public.

"Sir Kim was doing his job".