Boris Johnson appointed Britain's foreign minister

Boris Johnson appointed Britain's foreign minister

LONDON - Agence France-Presse
Boris Johnson appointed Britains foreign minister

Newly appointed Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson waves as he leaves 10 Downing Street in central London on July 13, 2016 after new British Prime Minister Theresa May took office. AFP photo

Theresa May came under immediate pressure on July 14 on her first full day as Britain’s new prime minister after a series of surprise appointments to her cabinet, including the gaffe-prone Boris Johnson as foreign minister.

In Johnson, Britain has appointed a liar with his back against the wall as at a time when somebody reliable is needed in the role, his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault said. 

Johnson campaigned successfully for Britons to vote to leave the European Union last month. In France, a founding EU member, he is seen as a key player in the departure and in the setback to European integration it represents. 

“I am not at all worried about Boris Johnson, but... during the campaign he lied a lot to the British people and now it is he who has his back against the wall,” said Ayrault on Europe 1 radio. 

After the vote on June 23, Johnson turned his back on a chance to stand as prime minister in place of Conservative David Cameron, who stepped down having led the campaign to stay. 

However, on July 13, Cameron’s successor, Theresa May, appointed the former mayor of London and one-time journalist as her foreign secretary. 

Johnson will not be in charge of talks about how the divorce will be arranged. May named David Davis, a pro-Brexit former Conservative Party chairman, to a special ministerial role for that purpose. 

Britain’s newspapers focused on May’s challenge-laden in-tray, while her appointment of top Brexiteers led by Johnson thrilled some but alarmed others.

Most newspapers were interested in the surprise appointment of former London mayor as foreign minister.

“New PM’s bombshell,” said the Daily Mirror. “Dear world... Sorry”, with a front page picture of Johnson stuck on a zip wire holding two British flags, from the London 2012 Olympics. “Britain’s credibility was hanging by a thread last night as new PM Theresa May chose gaffe-prone Boris Johnson as foreign secretary,” the left-wing tabloid said.

The Daily Telegraph had a picture of May’s first step into 10 Downing Street, taken from inside.

“May brings in the Brexiteers,” the conservative broadsheet said.

“Boris bounces back!” said the Daily Mail’s front page, accompanied by a picture of Cameron’s five-year-old  daughter Florence.

“Days after his PM dream imploded, May makes him foreign secretary,” said the right-wing tabloid. “Then she sacks Osborne and hands top Cabinet jobs to Brexiteers.” 

Three weeks after Britain voted to leave the European Union, May also came under fire from EU leaders, who pressed her to trigger a Brexit as quickly as possible.

And as economic uncertainty swirls from the shock decision to quit the bloc.