Teenage Brexit Party official says he helped expose US ambassador cables that enraged Donald Trump

Steven Edginton

Scotland Yard risked being dragged into a politically charged row over Sir Kim Darroch’s emails after a teenager working for the Brexit Party said he was the middleman who obtained the classified documents.

Steven Edginton, 19, who runs the Brexit Party’s social media feeds, insisted he passed the documents to the political journalist Isabel Oakeshott.

Mr Edginton, who also describes himself as a freelance journalist, said he did not want his name on the articles, subsequently published in the mail on Sunday, “to avoid possible controversy”.

the Metropolitan Police and for intelligence agencies in what is already a highly sensitive investigation.” data-reactid=”20″>But the key role of Mr Edginton in the leak will cause problems for the Metropolitan Police and for intelligence agencies in what is already a highly sensitive investigation.

Sir Kim Darroch

It raises the prospect of counter-terrorism officers having to raid the home of a Brexit Party official to try to get to the origin of the leak. Such a move would risk a political furore.” data-reactid=”32″>It raises the prospect of counter-terrorism officers having to raid the home of a Brexit Party official to try to get to the origin of the leak. Such a move would risk a political furore.

One well-placed source said: “This inquiry is already so sensitive and Steve Edginton’s involvement complicates that.”

A senior Government minister warned that raiding the Brexit Party – or anybody connected with it – was hugely problematic. “A political party’s computers would have to be seized,” said the minister, “Nobody is going to do that.”

Mr Edginton broke his cover in an article for the Mail on Sunday, the tabloid newspaper, which first published details of Sir Kim’s diplomatic telegrams and other memos and letters. 

The messages, sent from the Washington embassy to the Foreign Office, described Donald Trump’s administration as “inept” and “utterly dysfunctional”.

The president reacted furiously, branding Sir Kim a “pompous fool” and “the wacky ambassador” before withdrawing a series of invitations to the White House. Sir Kim resigned a day after Boris Johnson refused to back him in a televised debate in the race to be Conservative Party leader.

Donald Trump shaking hands with Sir Kim in 2018

In his lengthy account of the affair, Mr Edginton said he feared he could be arrested for his role but declared: “I am not the leaker – I am a young journalist – but I did play a critical role in the publication of a story that has reverberated on both sides of the Atlantic.”

He said he had begun investigating earlier this year how the civil service was preparing for Brexit and examining an alleged pro-remain bias within it.

He wrote: “There had been repeated reports claiming that Europhile mandarins have been quietly working to thwart the result of the referendum.  “I just wanted to discover the truth. This was not a Brexiteer plot to topple Sir Kim, nor was it some devilish scheme to torpedo the independence of the civil service by installing a political appointee in Washington. Instead, it was simply an honest journalistic endeavour.”

He said he was passed a letter written by Sir Kim describing the White House as “inept” and realising its significance took it to Ms Oakeshott. Mr Edginton had worked for Ms Oakeshott as a researcher.

Mr Edginton wrote: “I appreciate that my CV – and my pro-Brexit views – will inevitably fuel the conspiracy theories but I want to be absolutely clear: the leak of Sir Kim’s cables had absolutely nothing to do with the Brexit party.”

Scotland Yard launched its criminal investigation into a suspected breach of the Official Secrets Act in the wake of the resignation of Sir Kim and the damage done to the national interest.  Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head of counter terrorism, provoked a furore when he suggested editors could be prosecuted for publishing sensitive material related to the leak.