The government has launched an inquiry into leaked emails from the UK ambassador in Washington which deemed Donald Trump’s White House“uniquely dysfunctional” and “inept".

The documents detail Sir Kim Darroch’s assessments of the Trump administration from 2017 to the present – and could prove highly embarrassing for the Foreign Office.

The government's move came after foreign affairs select committee Tom Tugendhat said whoever was responsible must be prosecuted.

Officials insisted the relationship with the White House could withstand the “mischievous behaviour” of the leak and defended Sir Kim’s candid style.

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The diplomatic memos, obtained by the Mail on Sunday, suggest that in order to communicate with the president “you need to make your points simple, even blunt”.

In the cache of documents, Sir Kim gives a scathing assessment of the White House: “We don’t really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept.”

He questioned whether the White House “will ever look competent”.

The White House has yet to respond to the memos' contents.

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The Foreign Office confirmed a formal leak investigation would be launched.

A Foreign Office spokesman said the views of diplomats were "not necessarily the views of ministers or indeed the government. But we pay them to be candid".

He said: "Of course we would expect such advice to be handled by ministers and civil servants in the night way, and it's important that our ambassadors can offer their advice and for it remain confidential."