Johnson: Leaving EU does not mean leaving Europe

2016-07-14 21:27
Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street after being appointed Foreign Secretary. (Steve Parsons, AP)

Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street after being appointed Foreign Secretary. (Steve Parsons, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - Leaving the European Union "does not mean leaving Europe", says Britain's new foreign minister and leading Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson.

"On Europe, clearly we have to give effect to the will of the people in the referendum, but that does not mean in any sense leaving Europe," he told reporters outside the Foreign Office on Thursday.

"There is a massive difference between leaving the EU and our relations with Europe, which if anything are going to be intensified."

In one of her first acts as prime minister on Wednesday, Theresa May named Johnson the country's top diplomat, stunning observers who had written off the gaffe-prone former London mayor after he pulled out of the race to succeed May's predecessor David Cameron two weeks ago.

Johnson said he had had a "very, very busy" first day on the job, with US counterpart John Kerry among the first to call with congratulations.

Working together

"His view was that post-Brexit, and after the negotiations, what he really wants to see - and I think this is the right thing for the UK - is more Britain abroad...a greater global profile. And I think we now have the opportunity to achieve that," Johnson said.

He shrugged off criticism from his European peers, including French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who accused him of having "lied a lot" during the Brexit campaign.

"After a vote like the referendum result on June 23, it's inevitable that there is going to be a certain amount of plaster coming off the ceilings in the chancelleries of Europe," Johnson said.

But, he added: "I have to say, the French foreign minister in fact has sent me a charming letter just a couple of hours ago saying how much he looked forward to working together and to deepening Anglo-French cooperation in all sorts of areas."

Read more on:    eu  |  boris johnson  |  theresa may  |  uk  |  brexit

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.