Creating a ‘Brexit Ministry’ and putting former London mayor Boris Johnson in charge of foreign affairs are among the first decisions of new British Prime Minister Theresa May.
As Mrs May took over the reigns at Number 10 yesterday, she announced her first appointments, which included prominent Leave campaigners David Davis as ‘Secretary of State for Exiting the EU’ and Mr Johnson as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.
Mr Johnson told reporters his appointment – which means he is now in charge of such matters as the diplomatic service and intelligence service MI6 – made him feel “very humbled, very proud to be offered this chance”.
He added: “We now have a massive opportunity to make a great success of our new relationship with Europe and with the world and I am very excited to be part of that.”
Mrs May has already made telephone calls to key international partners, including President Hollande, and the Elysée says the French president told her he hopes negotiations for the UK’s EU exit will now “begin as fast as possible”.
EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker stated via Twitter he is “keen to learn about [Mrs May’s] intentions” with regard to the Brexit, saying the referendum vote “created a new situation which the UK and EU will have to address soon”.
Mrs May has reclaimed a comment by veteran Tory politician Ken Clarke that she is a ‘bloody difficult woman’, saying Juncker would find out how difficult she is.
He in turn told reporters he wanted a good relationship but that she would find he had ‘difficulties’ of his own.
European Council president Donald Tusk said he is hoping for a ‘fruitful’ working relationship and is keen to meet with her.
Mrs May is expected to make further cabinet appointments today.