Boris Johnson appointed Britain's foreign minister

Britain's newly appointed Foreign Minister Boris Johnson says humbled and proud to be offered the job, and that the United States will be 'in the front of the queue.'
Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street after being named Britain's foreign secretary on Wednesday (July 13).
Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street after being named Britain's foreign secretary on Wednesday (July 13).PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

LONDON (AFP) - Mr Boris Johnson, the former London mayor and "Leave" campaign figurehead in Britain's EU referendum, was appointed foreign secretary on Wednesday (July 13) in new Prime Minister Theresa May's government.

In a surprise announcement Mr Johnson, who had been seemingly cast into the political wilderness after the June 23 referendum, was handed a task that will inevitably be dominated by handling Britain's departure from the European Union following last month's vote to leave.

Mr Johnson had been widely expected to stand for the leadership of the governing Conservative Party after "Remain" campaign leader David Cameron announced his resignation as prime minister in the wake of the referendum.

Mr Johnson had been the bookmakers' favourite to become prime minister.

However, his running mate Michael Gove decided to stand for the job himself and Mr Johnson swiftly pulled out in a shock statement which had been expected to announce his candidacy.

 
 

It is the first role in government for Mr Johnson, who was London's mayor from 2008 to 2016, a spell which included overseeing the 2012 Olympic Games.

The appointment amounts to a remarkable comeback for the mop-haired 52-year-old, whose career was thought to have crashed and burned after what was seen as a political assassination by Mr Gove.

Mr Johnson was the second appointment in May's new government after she shifted Mr Philip Hammond from the Foreign Office brief to become Britain's new finance minister.

"The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Boris Johnson MP as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs," Downing Street said in a statement.

On leaving the Prime Minister's Downing Street office, Mr Johnson immediately got into a ministerial car and went to speak to staff at the Foreign Office.