Senior UK diplomat quits, says she will not ‘peddle half-truths’ over Brexit
A senior British diplomat in Washington has resigned, saying she did not want to "peddle half-truths" over Brexit for a government she did not trust, CNN reported on Friday.
Britons head to the polls on Dec. 12 for an election which will decide the fate of Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives have said they will deliver Brexit by the end of January, while the opposition Labour Party, who are trailing in the polls, plans to renegotiate the exit deal and put it to another referendum.
Citing a copy of her resignation letter, dated Dec. 3, CNN reported Alexandra Hall Hall, who had been Brexit Counsellor in the British embassy in Washington since 2018, said her position had become "unbearable personally, and untenable professionally".
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"I have been increasingly dismayed by the way in which our political leaders have tried to deliver Brexit, with reluctance to address honestly, even with our own citizens, the challenges and trade-offs which Brexit involves," she wrote.
"It makes our job to promote democracy and the rule of law that much harder, if we are not seen to be upholding these core values at home."
A former British ambassador to Georgia who had worked for the foreign office for 33 years, Hall Hall said her decision to quit had nothing to do with being "for or against Brexit, per se".
"I am also at a stage in life where I would prefer to do something more rewarding with my time, than peddle half-truths on behalf of a government I do not trust," she wrote.
Asked during a televised election debate whether it worried him that a leading British diplomat had made such comments, Johnson said: "I don’t know who you’re referring to."
"What it shows to me is that we need to move on as a country because there are plenty of people who are irreconcilably opposed to Brexit and I think that actually what we should do is respect the will of the people," he added.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed Hall Hall had resigned but a spokeswoman said it would not comment on the detail of an individual’s resignation.
CNN said Hall Hall’s role involved explaining Britain’s approach to Brexit to U.S. politicians and that she felt her diplomatic role had been co-opted to deliver messages that were "neither fully honest nor politically impartial".
It said she had filed a formal complaint about being asked to convey overtly partisan language on Brexit in Washington.