Teenage Journalist Behind Darroch Leak Denies Link to Brexit
A teenage freelance reporter who worked on the story that revealed unflattering comments by Britain’s ambassador to the U.S. about President Donald Trump says his reporting wasn’t linked to any pro-Brexit plot.
Steven Edginton, 19, wrote in the Mail on Sunday that his reporting on an internal cable to London from Washington ambassador Kim Darroch was part of a seven-month investigation into how the British civil service is preparing for Brexit, even though the teenager admits he also helps run social media accounts for the Brexit Party.
“I am sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists, but this was not a Brexiteer plot to topple Sir Kim, nor was it some devilish scheme to torpedo the independence of the Civil Service by installing a political appointee in Washington,” Edginton wrote. “Instead, it was simply an honest journalistic endeavor.”
Darroch called Trump’s administration “inept” and “utterly dysfunctional” in an internal letter from June 2017, according to a July 7 article in the Mail on Sunday by Edginton and another freelancer, Isabel Oakeshott. Trump responded by calling Darroch a “pompous fool” and said he’d cut off all contact.
The episode dominated political debate in the U.K., and put pressure on Boris Johnson, who is likely to succeed Theresa May as prime minister next week. Johnson, a former foreign secretary, refused to back Darroch during a televised debate.
It also led to British authorities saying they’d investigate the source of the leak. Edginton said he was read the contents of Darroch’s letter by a “source.” He said in today’s article that he suspects he’s under surveillance by security services.
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