A man has been arrested by counter-terrorism officials on suspicion of offences under the Official Secrets Act and misconduct in a public office, the Metropolitan Police have confirmed.
It comes amid a report in the Mail on Sunday claiming a civil servant was questioned by Scotland Yard in connection with an investigation into an explosive leak of diplomatic cables which resulted the resignation of the UK ambassador to the US, Sir Kim Darroch, last year.
The documents published in 2019 contained the top diplomat’s frank views of the US president to senior officials in London, describing the Trump White House as “inept” and “dysfunctional”.
A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said on Sunday: “On Tuesday, 13 October, officers from the Met’s counter terrorism command arrested a man in the London area on suspicion of offences under the Official Secrets Act and misconduct in public office.
“The man was taken to a London police station and was subsequently released on police bail to a date in mid-November. Enquiries continue.”
The police force did not specify what the arrest was in connection with, but according the Mail on Sunday a civil servant was arrested over the leak over diplomatic cables on Tuesday. The newspaper claimed the individual was employed at the Department for International Trade (DiT) and had been suspended on full pay amid its own internal inquiry.
The government department declined to comment when approached by The Independent.
Boris Johnson, who was at the time competing against the then-foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt for to succeed Theresa May, faced intense criticism for refusing to say whether he would keep Sir Kim in the high-profile role if he became prime minister.
During a live televised debate, Mr Johnson initially evaded the question and refused to commit himself on Sir Kim’s future in Washington, but when pressed said he wouldn’t be “presumptuous”.
Hours after the comments, Sir Kim announced his resignation, saying: “Since the leak of official documents from this embassy, there has been a great deal of speculation surrounding my position and the duration of my remaining term as ambassador.
“I want to put an end to that speculation. The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like. Although my posting is not due to end until the end of this year, I believe in the current circumstances the responsible course is to allow the appointment of a new ambassador.”