Boris Johnson condemned for 'craven and despicable act of cowardice' over US ambassador's resignation

Conservative leadership contender Boris Johnson poses with a pint of beer during his visit to JD Wetherspoon's Metropolitan Bar in London, on July 10, 2019. (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP/Getty Images)

Boris Johnson is not even the Prime Minister yet but already MPs are lining up to attack his role in the resignation of US ambassador Sir Kim Darroch.

Mr Johnson was accused of throwing Sir Kim, who resigned after the leak of diplomatic cables criticising Donald Trump, "under the bus" by Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan.

But stronger criticisms came from MPs in the House of Commons today during an urgent question on the leak.

Shadow Foreign Office minister Liz McInnes said "the biggest villain of all is the man about to become our next Prime Minister".

Saying Mr Johnson refused the chance to defend Sir Kim during Tuesday's leadership debate, Ms McInnes said: "He took an active choice instead to throw our man in Washington under the bus.

"It was the most craven and despicable act of cowardice I have seen from any candidate for public office, let alone from someone running to be Prime Minister."

Labour MP Pat McFadden added: "The response of [Boris Johnson] was an appalling abandonment of someone in the firing line.

"Real leaders protect their people. They don't throw them to the wolves because they can sniff a prize for themselves.

"His actions were a chilling warning of what is to come if he becomes Prime Minister."

Criticism also came from Tory backbencher David Morris, who said: "It is incumbent on every member of parliament in this place to back up our excellent diplomats and civil servants and [Johnson] should come to the house and apologise."

The inquiry into the leak is focusing on whether "someone within the system" was responsible.

Sir Alan Duncan said there was no evidence the dispatches from Sir Kim had been obtained through computer hacking.

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Retransmitted correcting byline to Yui Mok Conservative party leadership contender Boris Johnson leaving his office in Westminster, London.
Conservative party leadership contender Boris Johnson leaving his office in Westminster, London.
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Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson in a fork lift truck during a visit to King & Co tree nursery, in Braintree, Essex, ahead of the Tory leadership hustings in Colchester, Essex.
Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during a Tory leadership hustings in London.
Supporters of Conservative leadership candidate Boris Johnson before a Tory leadership hustings in London.
Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during a visit to Wetherspoons Metropolitan Bar in London with Tim Martin, Chairman of JD Wetherspoon.
Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during a visit to Wetherspoons Metropolitan Bar in London with Tim Martin, Chairman of JD Wetherspoon.
Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during a visit to Wetherspoons Metropolitan Bar in London with Tim Martin, Chairman of JD Wetherspoon.
Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during a visit to construction work for the expansion of Terminal Two at Manchester Airport.
Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during a visit to construction work for the expansion of Terminal Two at Manchester Airport.
Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during a visit to construction work for the expansion of Terminal Two at Manchester Airport.
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson watches as a sheep is prepared for shearing during a visit to Nosterfield farm near Ripon in North Yorkshire, ahead of the latest hustings in York later.
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson holds up a string of sausages around his neck during a visit to Heck Foods Ltd. headquarters near Bedale in North Yorkshire ahead of the latest hustings in York later.
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson sits in a chair in a clothing shop during a visit to Guisborough, North Yorkshire.
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson makes sausages during a visit to Heck Foods Ltd. headquarters near Bedale in North Yorkshire ahead of the latest hustings in York later.
Conservative party leadership contender Boris Johnson during a Tory leadership hustings at Darlington Hippodrome.
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson makes sausages during a visit to Heck Foods Ltd. headquarters near Bedale in North Yorkshire ahead of the latest hustings in York later.
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during a visit to Guisborough, North Yorkshire.
Conservative party leadership contender Boris Johnson arriving at a Tory leadership hustings in York.
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during a visit to Nosterfield farm near Ripon in North Yorkshire, ahead of the latest hustings in York later.
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson poses for a selfie with a steelworker during a visit to Guisborough, North Yorkshire.
Conservative leadership candidate Boris Johnson looks through binoculars on the bridge of the Isle of Wight ferry as it sets sail from Portsmouth.
Conservative party leadership contender Boris Johnson poses for a photo at the Wight Shipyard Company at Venture Quay during a visit to the Isle of Wight.
Conservative party leadership contender Boris Johnson arrives for a Tory leadership hustings in Crooklands in Cumbria.
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Conservative party leadership contender Boris Johnson speaking during a Tory leadership hustings at Carlisle Racecourse.
Conservative party leadership contender Boris Johnson speaking during a Tory leadership hustings at Carlisle Racecourse.
Conservative party leadership contender Boris Johnson speaking in Exeter during a Tory leadership hustings.
Conservative party leadership contender Boris Johnson sits in a boat under construction at the Venture Quay boatyard during a visit to the Isle of Wight.
Conservative party leadership contender Boris Johnson arrives to speak at a Tory leadership hustings at Carlisle Racecourse.
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Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson (left) and Dominic Rabb in The Victoria public house in Oxshott, Surrey.
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Conservative party leadership contender Boris Johnson at a campaign event in Wombourne in the West Midlands.
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Conservative party leadership contender Boris Johnson with a supporter at a Tory leadership hustings in Crooklands in Cumbria.
Conservative party leadership contender Boris Johnson speaking at a Tory leadership hustings in Crooklands in Cumbria.
Conservative party leadership contender Boris Johnson at a campaign event at the Lion Quays Hotel in Oswestry, Shropshire.
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson has a drink in the Munch and Wiggles cafe in Oxshott, Surrey.
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson (left) and Dominic Rabb in The Victoria public house in Oxshott, Surrey.
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson (centre) and Dominic Rabb (right) talk to staff in the Surrey Hills Butchers in Oxshott, Surrey.
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson (left) and Dominic Rabb in The Victoria public house in Oxshott, Surrey.
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson (right) interacts with local business people in the Munch and Wiggles cafe in Oxshott, Surrey.
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson (second left) weighs some produce in the Surrey Hills Butchers in Oxshott, Surrey.
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson (right) interacts with local business people in the Munch and Wiggles cafe in Oxshott, Surrey.
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson (right) interacts with local business people in the Munch and Wiggles cafe in Oxshott, Surrey.
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson (left) and Dominic Rabb, in The Victoria public house in Oxshott, Surrey.
RETRANSMISSION adding name of Hayley Monckton. Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson (centre) walks with David Alexander (left, Director of Estates at the RHS) and Hayley Monckton (front right, Director of Communications at the RHS) while touring the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) garden at Wisley, in Surrey.
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during a tour of the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) garden at Wisley, in Surrey.
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson talks to a visitor as he tours the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) garden at Wisley, in Surrey.
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson talks to visitors during a tour of the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) garden at Wisley, in Surrey.
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during a tour of the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) garden at Wisley, in Surrey.
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson (centre) gestures to visitors as his staff members walk up the steps, during a tour of the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) garden at Wisley, in Surrey.
Boris Johnson pictured during a live phone in with LBC presenter Nick Ferrari, at their studios in central London. Picture date: Tuesday June 25, 2019. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/Empics
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Instead, he said the investigation was looking at the possibility they had been "illicitly" released by someone with access to diplomatic reports.

Sir Kim announced on Wednesday he was standing down from his posting in Washington, saying his position had become "impossible" following a barrage of abuse from President Trump.

Downing Street has refused to be drawn on whether Mrs May intends to appoint a new ambassador before she leaves office in two weeks' time.

Allies of Mr Johnson have insisted that it must be for the next Prime Minister to decide who Britain's new envoy to the US should be.

However in response to questions, Mrs May's official spokesman said only: "In terms of this particular replacement, that will take place in due course."

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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