United Kingdom police investigate Kim Darroch cables

UK police investigate Kim Darroch cables - CNN

UK police investigate Kim Darroch cables - CNN

"I would advise all owners, editors and publishers of social and mainstream media not to publish leaked government documents that may already be in their possession, or which may be offered to them, and to turn them over to the police or give them back to their rightful owner, Her Majesty's Government".

The Counter Terrorism Command is responsible for investigating breaches of the Official Secrets Act.

The Official Secrets Act prohibits public servants from making "damaging" disclosures of classified material.

Thirdly and crucially, says Farr, evidence suggests we have this ambassador's own words from his team that when Johnson refused to support him in Johnson and Hunt's first TV debate, the ambassador felt he had to resign. "Turn yourself in at the earliest opportunity, explain yourself and face the consequences".

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and his predecessor Boris Johnson said the leaker should be found but the press should not be targeted.

Other newspaper editors and MPs were also critical of Mr Basu's statement.

However, he said they had been advised any further publication of the cables "now knowing they may be a breach of the OSA" could also constitute a criminal offence - to which there was no public interest defence.

"The state threatening media freedom is a risky road to tread", Health Minister Matt Hancock said on Twitter.George Osborne, editor of the London Evening Standard and a former finance minister, described the remarks as a "very stupid and ill-advised statement from a junior officer who doesn't appear to understand much about press freedom".

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"It is the duty of media organisations to bring new and interesting facts into the public domain. We have a duty to prevent as well as detect crime, and the previous statement was meant to alert to the risk of breaching the OSA", he said. "Do you have any comprehension of a free society?"

The Foreign Secretary said he would "defend to the hilt" the right of the press to publish leaks they judge to be in the public interest.

Another expert, David Collins, professor of worldwide economic law at City, University of London and author of Negotiating Brexit: The Legal Basis for European Union and Global Trade, said it appears as though Boris Johnson is poised to become the new PM as he is generally more well liked by the Conservative Party membership and has been more explicit about how he will respond to Brexit.

"Frankly it is the kind of approach we would expect from totalitarian regimes where the media are expected to be little more than a tame arm of the government".

The head of Britain's diplomatic service, Simon McDonald, said this week he was "bracing" himself for further leaks, which he described as "the worst breach of trust in our service in my career".

"I think the Government and the police are fully entitled to find out who was involved in that and if they can to prevent it happening again".

The US president claimed on Friday that he had been told that Sir Kim had actually said "some very good things" about him.

The former London mayor has been heavily criticised by MPs in his own party and the opposition for failing to defend Darroch after Trump attacked the envoy for leaked remarks describing the U.S. administration as inept.

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