He spent just thirteen days in the political wilderness but now Boris Johnson holds one of the great offices of state.
He spent just thirteen days in the political wilderness but now Boris Johnson holds one of the great offices of state. The man who famously put his weight behind the Brexit campaign at the last minute and then – in triumph after the referendum result – became favourite to be prime minister.
Now as Foreign Secretary the former Mayor of London who has no ministerial experience will travel the world to negotiate and glad-hand for the United Kingdom as it prepares to leave the European Union.
He must make time to repair relationships. When President Barack Obama suggested Britain would be at the back of the queue for trade deals with the US if it left the EU, Johnson replied the president had Kenyan roots and had an “ancestral dislike of the British Empire.”
It was a point picked up by one reporter after his appointment. “You’ve got a few people to apologise to though haven’t you? President Obama for example.”
“Well as I say the United States of America will be in the front of the queue. Thank you,” quipped the new Foreign Secretary.
The diplomatic world is preparing for the landing of Boris. One former diplomat said, “it shouldn’t be dull”.
David Davis has been charged with leading the UK’s exit from the EU. The veteran Eurosceptic politician and leading Brexit campaigner stood against David Cameron for the leadership of the Conservatives back in 2005.
Leading up to the referendum the 67-year-old wrote that he believed “the first calling point of the UK’s negotiator after Brexit would not be Brussels but Berlin to strike the deal”.
“The pragmatic hard headed businessmen on the continent will do everything to ensure trade with Britain continues uninterrupted,” he wrote.
Philip Hammond was expected by many to become the new Chancellor and is seen as a safe pair of hands at the Treasury.
Like his new boss he had remained faithful to David Cameron and the remain campaign but played a low-key role. The immediate task for the 60-year-old will be to stabilise an economy that risks sliding into a recession after last month’s vote.
“Britain is open for business, we are not turning our back on the world, we are determined to maintain our outward looking stance, and we are determined to maintain prosperity for our people and keep on growing the economy and creating jobs in the future,” he said.
The Chancellor who was successively Minister of Defence and Minister for Foreign Affairs will also have to set new budget goals after his predecessor George Osborne abandoned his aim to run a budget surplus by 2020.
He will as well oversee new financial agreements which London will have to conclude with other countries after leaving the EU.