Straw and Campbell denounce Ambassador's revelations

The foreign secretary, Jack Straw, has accused Britain's former ambassador to Washington of "breaking trust" by publishing his memoirs. He has also called into question Sir Christopher Meyer's current role as head of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), pointing out that any complaints about the serialisation of the extracts of his book would have to be addressed to Meyer.

Straw, who is referred to as a "political pygmy" and was described as being tongue-tied in front of American officials in Meyer's book, "DC Confidential", told BBC's Today programme: "I think it is completely unacceptable for someone like Christopher Meyer to break trust in the way that he has done. It undermines the key relationship between civil servants and ministers. It has led to very great concern, I may say, amongst the whole of the diplomatic service."

Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, sympathised with Straw: "Notwithstanding my commitment to freedom of information, I have some sympathy with Jack Straw's comments. The conduct of foreign affairs can be a delicate and sensitive matter in which there are difficult and complex negotiations. The kind of detail that Sir Christopher has provided could inhibit frankness and damage relations. The public does not need to know about the tightness of the prime minister's trousers. It seems to me that this kind of reference trivialises important issues."

Straw hits out at ambassador's book (The Guardian, 11 November 2005)