Boris Johnson’s Brexit envoy to US resigns with furious attack on government ‘peddling half-truths’

Alexandra Hall Hall says civil servants being asked to be not ‘fully honest’ with the public

Jon Stone
Friday 06 December 2019 17:05 GMT
Jeremy Corbyn releases leaked government documents that show Boris Johnson mislead the people about Brexit deal

The lead Brexit envoy in the UK’s embassy in Washington has resigned, saying she can no longer “peddle half-truths” on behalf of political leaders she does not trust.

Alexandra Hall Hall sent a resignation letter earlier this week, warning that increasing demands were being placed on civil servants not to be “fully honest” with the public.

It comes as leaked internal documents show there will be customs checks and controls between Britain and Northern Ireland, despite claims by Boris Johnson that there would not be.

The government has also been forced to issue a series of denials that aspects relating to the NHS would be on the table in US trade talks despite some evidence that meetings are already taking place.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office confirmed the news, first reported by CNN, and said: “We won’t comment on the detail of an individual’s resignation.”

In her resignation letter, Ms Hall Hall said the government’s approach had undermined the British diplomats’ position abroad and that for her the situation had become “unbearable personally” and “untenable professionally”.

“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; the use of misleading or disingenuous arguments about the implications of the various options before us; and some behaviour towards our institutions, which, were it happening in another country, we would almost certainly as diplomats have received instructions to register our concern,” she wrote in her letter, dated 3 December.

“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.”

She added: “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.”

Ms Hall Hall was previously Britain’s ambassador to Georgia. She said her departure had nothing to do with being “for or against Brexit, per se”, but frustration with how policy was being implemented.

The government has lost several senior diplomats during Brexit talks, most notably Sir Ivan Rogers, its former ambassador to the EU. Sir Ivan last month accused Mr Johnson of “diplomatic amateurism” over Brexit.

Ms Hall Hall did not mention Mr Johnson by name in her letter, but expressed concern about the divisive rhetoric that has characterised politics since the referendum campaign.

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