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Kim Darroch

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Sir Kim Darroch

Sir Kim Darroch.png
Darroch in 2016
British Ambassador to the United States
Assumed office
28 January 2016[1]
MonarchElizabeth II
PresidentBarack Obama
Donald Trump
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Theresa May
Preceded bySir Peter Westmacott
United Kingdom National Security Advisor
In office
23 January 2012 – 7 September 2015
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded bySir Peter Ricketts
Succeeded bySir Mark Lyall Grant
Her Majesty's Permanent Representative to the European Union
In office
July 2007 – 23 January 2012
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
David Cameron
Preceded bySir John Grant
Succeeded bySir Jon Cunliffe
Personal details
Nigel Kim Darroch

(1954-04-30) 30 April 1954 (age 65)
South Stanley, County Durham, England[2]
Vanessa Darroch (m. 1978)
EducationAbingdon School
Alma materDurham University

Sir Nigel Kim Darroch KCMG ( /ˈdærək/; born 30 April 1954)[3] is a senior British diplomat. He has been serving as the British Ambassador to the United States since January 2016. He resigned his post on 10 July 2019 following the leak of diplomatic cables in which he had been critical of the Trump administration, and will leave the post upon the appointment of his successor.

Early life

Darroch was born in the village of South Stanley in County Durham, England, on 30 April 1954.[4] He was educated at Abingdon School and at Durham University (Hatfield College), from where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in zoology in 1975.[3][5]


Ambassador Sir Peter Westmacott, Prime Minister David Cameron and National Security Advisor Darroch meet with President Barack Obama at the White House in January 2015

Darroch joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1976.[3] He was appointed to the Diplomatic Service in 1980[6] to serve as a First Secretary in Tokyo from 1980 to 1984.[3] He served in a number of posts, including as desk officer for the Channel Tunnel project and co-secretary of the UK-French Channel Tunnel Treaty Group, as private secretary to David Mellor and then The Lord Glenarthur as the FCO's Minister of State from 1987 to 1989, and as Counsellor for External Affairs at the British Permanent Representative to the European Union for a year before being promoted to Director as head of the FCO's press office in 1998.[3]

In 2000, Darroch moved back to policy work as Director of EU Comd,[clarification needed] and in 2003 promoted further to be Director-General, Europe. In 2004, he transferred to 10 Downing Street, as Head of the Cabinet Office European Secretariat, where he served as the Prime Minister's principal advisor on European affairs. After three years, Darroch was appointed to replace Sir John Grant in Brussels, as British Permanent Representative to the European Union in 2007 for a four-year term.[3]

On 24 June 2011, it was announced that Darroch would replace Sir Peter Ricketts as National Security Advisor in January 2012, with Sir Jon Cunliffe selected as Darroch's replacement as Permanent Representative to the European Union.[3][7]

Ambassador to the United States

Ambassador Darroch and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (right) meet Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in January 2019

On 7 July 2015, the Foreign Office announced that Darroch would be replaced by Sir Mark Lyall Grant in September 2015, with Darroch moving to a different diplomatic post.[8] On 20 August 2015, the Foreign Office announced that his new role would be as the Ambassador to the United States, replacing Sir Peter Westmacott from January 2016.[9]

In November 2016, following the US election, a memo by Darroch to Prime Minister Theresa May was leaked in which he said the President-elect of the United States, Donald Trump, could be influenced by the British government. The following week, Trump tweeted that Nigel Farage should serve as British ambassador to the United States. Downing Street said that there was no vacancy and that the UK had "an excellent ambassador to the US".[10][11] Darroch was in London the next day for consultations with May that were said to have been long planned.[12]

Cables leak and resignation

On 7 July 2019, secret diplomatic cables from Darroch to the British government, dating from 2017 to 2019, were leaked to The Mail on Sunday.[13] They included Darroch's unflattering assessments of the Trump administration, e.g. that it was "inept and insecure".[14] In response, Nigel Farage said Darroch was "totally unsuitable" for office,[15] and Trump tweeted that Darroch was "not liked or well thought of within the US" and that "we will no longer deal with him".[16] The Prime Minister, Theresa May, expressed support for Darroch and ordered a leak inquiry.[17]

On 10 July, Darroch resigned as Ambassador to the United States. He wrote that "the current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like".[18] Previously, Boris Johnson, the frontrunner in the election to replace May, had declined to publicly back Darroch. Consensus among political commentators in the UK was that this made Darroch's position untenable.[19] Both May and the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, praised Darroch's service in the House of Commons and deplored that he had to resign under pressure from the United States.[18] A spokesman for the prime minister said that it was an ambassador's job to provide "an honest and unvarnished view" of the US administration.[18] Darroch will remain in the post until a successor is appointed.[20]


Darroch was appointed a Companion of Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the 1997 New Year Honours,[21] and a Knight Commander of the same order (KCMG) in the 2008 Birthday Honours.[22]

Personal life

In 1978, Darroch married Vanessa, now a teacher at the British International School of Washington.[23] They have two children, Simon, a geologist based at Vanderbilt University who also studied at Durham, and Georgina, a botanist at Kew Gardens.[24][23]

See also


  1. ^ "Order of Precedence and Date of Presentation of Credentials". United States Department of State. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  2. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Darroch, Sir (Nigel) Kim, (born 30 April 1954), HM Diplomatic Service". Who's Who (UK). Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Speaker Bios" (PDF). National Governors Association. 19 February 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  5. ^ "Gazette". Durham University Archives. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  6. ^ "No. 48673". The London Gazette. 9 July 1981. p. 2.
  7. ^ "Senior Diplomatic Appointments". Number 10. 24 June 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  8. ^ "National Security Adviser appointment: Sir Mark Lyall-Grant – Press releases – Government of the United Kingdom". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  9. ^ "Change of Her Majesty's Ambassador to the United States of America – News stories – Government of the United Kingdom". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  10. ^ Wilkinson, Michael; Alexander, Harriet (22 November 2016). "Donald Trump recommends Nigel Farage for British ambassador to the United States – but No10 tells him 'there's no vacancy'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  11. ^ Wintour, Patrick; Elgot, Jessica; Borger, Julian (22 November 2016). "Ministers rejects Donald Trump's call to appoint Nigel Farage ambassador". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  12. ^ Cowburn, Ashley (22 November 2016). "Theresa May meets with British ambassador to the US following Donald Trump remarks". The Independent. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  13. ^ Oakeshott, Isabel (6 July 2019). "Britain's man in the US says Trump is 'inept': Leaked secret cables from ambassador say the President is 'uniquely dysfunctional and his career could end in disgrace'". The Mail on Sunday. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  14. ^ "Trump administration is 'inept and insecure', says UK ambassador". BBC News. 7 July 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  15. ^ Michelle Kosinski; Schams Elwazer; Stephen Collinson (7 July 2019). "Cables from UK's ambassador to the US blast Trump as 'inept,' 'incompetent'". CNN. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  16. ^ "Trump sharpens attack on UK ambassador Kim Darroch over emails". BBC News. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  17. ^ Mason, Rowena; Walker, Peter (8 July 2019). "Theresa May has 'full faith' in Kim Darroch but rejects his view of Trump". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  18. ^ a b c Walker, Peter (10 July 2019). "Kim Darroch resigns as UK ambassador to US after leaked Trump comment". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  19. ^ Walker, Peter; Wintour, Patrick; Syal, Rajeev; Siddiqui, Sabrina (10 July 2019). "Boris Johnson blamed after Kim Darroch quits as UK ambassador to US". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  20. ^ Walker, Peter; Wintour, Patrick; Syal, Rajeev; Siddiqui, and Sabrina (10 July 2019). "Johnson has thrown US ambassador under the bus, say top Tories". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  21. ^ "No. 54993". The London Gazette (3rd supplement). 30 December 1997. p. 3.
  22. ^ "No. 58729". The London Gazette (1st supplement). 14 July 2008. p. 2.
  23. ^ a b "Vanessa Darroch British International School Washington". Nord Anglia Education. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  24. ^ "Simon Darroch - Durham University". Dunelm USA. Retrieved 19 May 2019.

External links

Government offices
Preceded by
Director-General, Europe of the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Succeeded by
Nicola Brewer
Preceded by
Sir Stephen Wall
Head of the
Cabinet Office European Secretariat

Succeeded by
Jon Cunliffe
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Sir John Grant
UK Permanent Representative to the European Union
Succeeded by
Sir Jon Cunliffe
Preceded by
Sir Peter Westmacott
British Ambassador to the United States
Succeeded by
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Peter Ricketts
National Security Advisor
Succeeded by
Sir Mark Lyall Grant