Jeremy Hunt appointed as new foreign secretary after resignation of Boris Johnson

Written by Nicholas Mairs and John Johnston on 10 July 2018 in News

Former UK culture minister Matt Hancock will take over Hunts role in health

Jeremy Hunt - Image credit: Press Association

Jeremy Hunt has been named as the new foreign secretary following the resignation of Boris Johnson.

The former English health secretary was appointed to the role as part of a mini reshuffle sparked by a string of resignations over Brexit.

In his resignation letter, Johnson said the Brexit "dream is dying" and argued the Brexit blueprint put forward by the PM would leave the UK "a colony" of Brussels.

Former digital and culture minister Matt Hancock will take over at the UK Department of Health, while Jeremy Wright, who was the attorney general, has become culture secretary.

Last night a Downing Street spokesperson announced: "The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs."

Hunt vowed to stand "four square" behind the Prime Minister so the UK Government can secure a Brexit deal based on the Chequers agreement reached by the Cabinet on Friday. 

He added: "This is a time when the world is looking at us as a country, wondering what type of country we are going to be in a post-Brexit world.

"What I want to say to them is Britain is going to be a dependable ally, a country that stands up for the values that matter to the people of this country, and will be a strong confident voice in the world."

And on Twitter he said it was the "greatest privilege of my life" to serve as health secretary for almost six years – the longest running since the NHS was set up in 1948.

In 2016 the then-Remain campaigner said being the boss at the Department of Health would be his "last big job in politics", but he is rumoured to harbour leadership ambitions.

Hunt departs the health brief shortly after a 3.4 per cent annual increase in the NHS budget was announced.

But shadow health minister Justin Madders said that Hunt has overseen the “worst collapse in patient standards of any Health Secretary in the history of the NHS”.

He said: “[Hunt’s] time in charge will be remembered for soaring waiting lists, huge staffing shortages, and patients left with treatments rationed and operations cancelled in record numbers.

“It is an astonishing measure of the meltdown at the heart of the Tory government that this catalogue of failure is rewarded with promotion rather than the sack."

Hancock – who was appointed culture secretary in January – said he was "really looking forward" to the job at the Department of Health.

Earlier, David Davis was replaced as Brexit secretary by Dominic Raab, who was in turn replaced as housing minister by Kit Malthouse.

Davis quit on Sunday and was followed out by his junior Steve Baker before Johnson resigned on Monday.

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