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This week international affairs were once again at the heart of the UK's political discussions, with the US taking centre stage. Against the background of the Tory leadership race, the resignation of Sir Kim Darroch has prompted discussions of how diplomatic tensions are indicative of the UK's global position at the moment. Alongside this, turmoil within the Labour party around anti-Semitism has led to increased divisions domestically. With hostility both at home and abroad, what does this mean for the impending prime minister?

A not-so-special relationship

On Wednesday, British ambassador to the US, Sir Kim Darroch, resigned from his post after confidential emails were leaked to the media. The documents in question criticised the Trump administration, describing the president as 'insecure', and his government as 'dysfunctional' and 'inept'.

Unsurprisingly, president Trump was quick to retaliate to the leak, describing Sir Kim as a 'pompous fool' and stating the US would no longer deal with him. Presidential ego aside, it is not hard to see why Trump would be perturbed by the ambassador's comments, considering they undermine his own narrative of a restored American reputation on the world stage.

However, although these descriptions are not particularly contentious outside of Trump circles, questions about diplomatic practices soon consumed the political discourse in the UK. Discussions of Sir Kim's resignation spilled into the Tory leadership debate on Tuesday night, with Jeremy Hunt conclusively dismissing ideas that the ambassador should step down, calling Trump 'disrespectful and wrong'. Boris Johnson on the other hand decided to sit on the fence.

Johnson's decision to bite his tongue on the subject has led to accusations that he influenced the ambassador's decision to resign. The role Johnson may have played in the departure of the diplomat has been openly criticised, with the minister for the Foreign Office, Sir Alan Duncan stating the leadership hopeful had thrown the ambassador 'under the bus'.

The internal politics of the Conservative party has also already begun to shape discussions of the ambassador's successor. Boris Johnson's supporters have reportedly urged Theresa May to refrain from appointing the next ambassador as one of her final actions as prime minister. Instead, Boris backers hope Mrs May will leave the decision to the new prime minister, as rumours stir of a political or business appointment to aide with the delivery of Brexit.

However, perhaps what is most interesting about the Darroch affair is president Trump's stronghold on diplomatic decisions on this side of the Atlantic. The president's ability to force the hand of a British diplomat into resigning is telling of the true nature of the UK's special relationship with the US. As Boris remains the favourite to become prime minister on 23 July, it is likely the UK's relationship with Trump will face increased scrutiny under a Johnson premiership as a result of events this week.

Same wine, different bottle

This week also saw the announcement of the Labour party's decision to back a second referendum in the event of a Tory deal or no-deal Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn has challenged the next Tory leader to hold a referendum before taking Britain out of the EU, stating Labour would campaign for remain.

So is the Labour party is now a remain party? Apparently not. Despite backing remain against the options of no-deal or a Tory deal, Labour's hope of producing their own Brexit deal is very much still on the table. When asked about Labour's position at a general election, Mr Corbyn stated that a decision would be made near the time.

This lack of a definitive in or out stance from Labour is nothing new, with the party divided between both leave and remain factions. However, what is certain, is that trust amongst loyal labour voters is dwindling, as the identity of the party is as confused as the leadership.


Struggles of the Labour party were then exacerbated on Wednesday night, when Panorama aired an episode titled 'Is Labour anti-Semitic'? The episode alleged that Labour leaders had been interfering in the work of the disputes team, who deal with any complaints of anti-Semitism.

The episode featured testimonials from former Labour staff recounting instances when the party leadership had interfered with the independent nature of disciplinary proceedings. One former member of staff went further, describing how his mental health had suffered during his time working for the party, leaving him contemplating suicide.

Whilst the Labour party has condemned the episode as 'inaccurate' and 'politically one-sided', some MPs and members have had a less dismissive reaction. Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson has publicly deplored the party's response, saying more must be done to tackle the problem of anti-Semitism. The anti-Semitism row continues to burn on, with lines drawn between those members backing Corbyn, and those calling for a ruthless approach to discipline within the party.

What's next?

With a new prime minister due to be announced in just over a week's time, big changes are around the corner in Westminster. Despite issues over the US ambassador, Boris Johnson is still viewed as a shoe-in for prime minister, with a Conservative Home poll suggesting he may have already won the leadership contest.

That said, it's not over until it's over, and the Hunt camp will no doubt try to mobilise support around criticisms of Boris's handling of the US ambassador. It also seems, contrary to what most people believed would happen, around half of Tory members are believed to have not yet returned their ballots. With that in mind, the Hunt is on - but will he be able to beat BoJo to the dispatch box?