Kim Darroch – Wikipedia

British diplomat

Nigel Kim Darroch, Baron Darroch of Kew, KCMG (; born 30 April 1954) is a former British diplomat. He served as the British Ambassador to the United States between January 2016 and December 2019, and previously as National Security Adviser and UK Permanent Representative to the European Union.

On 10 July 2019, following the leak of diplomatic cables in which he had been critical of the Trump presidential administration, he resigned from his position as HM Ambassador in Washington. Darroch concluded his post in December 2019 upon retirement from HM Diplomatic Service after a career spanning 40 years of public service.

Early life[edit]

Nigel Kim Darroch was born in the village of South Stanley in County Durham, England, on 30 April 1954, to Alastair Macphee Darroch and Enid Darroch.[2][3] 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.[2][4] Darroch was an avid fives player in his youth, representing his school and later Durham University.[5][6]

Darroch joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1976.[2] He was appointed to the Diplomatic Service in 1980 to serve as a First Secretary in Tokyo from 1980 to 1984.[2][7] 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.[2]

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 John Grant in Brussels, as British Permanent Representative to the European Union in 2007 for a four-year term.[2]

On 24 June 2011, it was announced that Darroch would replace Peter Ricketts as National Security Advisor in January 2012, with Jon Cunliffe selected as Darroch’s replacement as Permanent Representative to the European Union.[2][8]

Ambassador to the United States[edit]

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 Mark Lyall Grant in September 2015.[9] On 20 August 2015, the Foreign Office announced that Darroch’s new role would be as the Ambassador to the United States, replacing Peter Westmacott on 28 January 2016.[10][11]

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”.[12][13] Darroch was in London the next day for consultations with May that were said to have been long-planned.[14]

Cables leak and resignation[edit]

On 7 July 2019, secret diplomatic cables from Darroch to the British government, dating from 2017 to 2019, were leaked to Steven Edginton, a 19-year-old “freelance journalist” and Brexit Party employee.[15] Darroch assessed the Trump administration as “inept and insecure”.[16] In response, Nigel Farage said Darroch was “totally unsuitable” for office,[17] and Trump tweeted that Darroch was “not liked or well thought of within the US” and that “we will no longer deal with him”.[18] The Prime Minister, Theresa May, expressed support for Darroch and ordered a leak inquiry.[19] It led to a criminal investigation by Scotland Yard.[15]

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”.[20] Previously, Boris Johnson, the frontrunner in the election to replace May, had declined to publicly support Darroch. Consensus among political commentators in the UK was that this made Darroch’s position untenable.[21] in the House of Commons, both May and the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, praised Darroch’s service and deplored that he had to resign under pressure from the United States.[20] 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.[20] Darroch remained in the post until the end of the year.[22]

Later career[edit]

In 2020, Darroch wrote Collateral Damage: Britain, America and Europe in the Age of Trump.[23][24][25]

On 19 September 2021, Darroch became Chairperson of non-partisan, internationalist campaign group, Best for Britain.[26]


Darroch was appointed a Companion of Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the 1997 New Year Honours,[27] and promoted to Knight Commander of the same order (KCMG) in the 2008 Birthday Honours.[28]

He was nominated as a life peer in Theresa May’s 2019 Resignation Honours List. He was created Baron Darroch of Kew, of St Mawes in the County of Cornwall on 11 November 2019.[29] He made his maiden speech in the House of Lords on 26 November 2020, with a speech on the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.[30]

Personal life[edit]

In 1978, Darroch married Vanessa, now a teacher at the British International School of Washington.[31] They have two children, Simon, a paleontologist based at Vanderbilt University who also studied at Durham, and Georgina, a botanist at Kew Gardens.[32][31]

The Times reported on allegations about a 2018 “passionate affair [lasting] at least several months” with a US journalist. The journalist denied the scoops originated with the ambassador.[33][34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ “Index entry”. FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ “Speaker Bios” (PDF). National Governors Association. 19 February 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2019.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ “Gazette”. Durham University Archives. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  5. ^ “Fives” (PDF). Abingdonian. 15 (8): 367. May 1972. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  6. ^ “OA Notes” (PDF). Abingdonian. 16 (2): 71. May 1973. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  7. ^ “No. 48673”. The London Gazette. 9 July 1981. p. 2.
  8. ^ “Senior Diplomatic Appointments”. Number 10. 24 June 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  9. ^ “National Security Adviser appointment: Sir Mark Lyall-Grant – Press releases – Government of the United Kingdom”. Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  10. ^ “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.
  11. ^ “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.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Cowburn, Ashley (22 November 2016). “Theresa May meets with British ambassador to the US following Donald Trump remarks”. The Independent. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  15. ^ a b Bowcott, Owen; Waterson, Jim (21 July 2019). “Brexit party activist says he obtained Kim Darroch cables”. The Guardian. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  16. ^ “Trump administration is ‘inept and insecure’, says UK ambassador”. BBC News. 7 July 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ “Trump sharpens attack on UK ambassador Kim Darroch over emails”. BBC News. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ Arthey, Vin (2 October 2020). “Book review: Collateral Damage by Kim Darroch”. The Scotsman. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  24. ^ Rickets, Peter (16 September 2020). “Kim Darroch and the art of the diplomat”. New Statesman. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  25. ^ Hastings, Max (13 September 2020). “Collateral Damage by Kim Darroch, review — the British ambassador ousted by Trump”. The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  26. ^ Annabelle Dickson (20 September 2021). “London Playbook: New York State of mind — What Scotland thinks — SpAd reshuffle”. Politico. Retrieved 22 September 2021. NEW GIG: Former U.K. Ambassador to the U.S. Kim Darroch has a new gig — he’s now chairperson of Best for Britain, the anti-Brexit campaigners now rebranding themselves as a “non-partisan” internationalist campaign group.
  27. ^ “No. 54993”. The London Gazette (3rd supplement). 30 December 1997. p. 3.
  28. ^ “No. 58729”. The London Gazette (1st supplement). 14 July 2008. p. 2.
  29. ^ “No. 62826”. The London Gazette. 14 November 2019. p. 20564.
  30. ^ Lord Darroch of Kew (26 November 2020). “Comprehensive Economic Partnership (EUC Report)”. Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Vol. 808. Parliament of the United Kingdom: House of Lords. col. 49.
  31. ^ a b “Vanessa Darroch British International School Washington”. Nord Anglia Education. Archived from the original on 14 July 2019. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  32. ^ “Simon Darroch – Durham University”. Dunelm USA. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  33. ^ Tony Allen-Mills. “Kim Darroch and Michelle Kosinski: it’s like Heartburn, the sequel”. The Times. Retrieved 18 October 2020. “a passionate affair [lasting] at least several months” with Michelle Kosinski, 46, a CNN correspondent who is married to an American former investment banker. The US Department of Justice was reported by The Sun to have launched an investigation into a series of leaks that resulted in impressive scoops for Kosinski.
  34. ^ UK’s US ambassador investigated over fears he leaked White House secrets to CNN reporter

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