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Jeremy Hunt named new Foreign Secretary after Boris Johnson quits

4 min read

Jeremy Hunt has been named as the new Foreign Secretary following the shock resignation of Boris Johnson.

The former Health Secretary was appointed to the role tonight as part of a mini reshuffle sparked by a string of resignations over Brexit.

Matt Hancock took over at the Department of Health while Jeremy Wright became Culture Secretary.

David Davis quit as Brexit Secretary at midnight last night and was followed out by his junior Steve Baker before Mr Johnson resigned this afternoon.

Tonight 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."

Mr Hunt vowed to stand "four square" behind Mrs May so the 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 priviege of my life" to serve as Health Secretary for almost six years.

Mr Hunt departs the health brief shortly after securing a 3.4% annual increase in the NHS budget.

But he came under fire last month after he blasted global manufacturer Airbus for its warnings about Brexit.

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.

Shadow Health Minister Justin Madders fumed: “Jeremy Hunt has overseen the worst collapse in patient standards of any Health Secretary in the history of the NHS.

“His 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."

Mr Hancock - who was appointed Culture Secretary in January - said he was "really looking forward" to the job at the Department of Health.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Mr Wright took the brief at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

And Geoffrey Cox QC, the backbench MP for Torridge and West Devon was appointed Attorney General.

Elsewhere, North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson was taken on as a junior minister at the Department for Work and Pensions.

Earlier, Mr Davis was replaced by Dominic Raab, who was in turn replaced as Housing Minister by Kit Malthouse. Mr Baker was replaced as Brexit Minister by former whip Chris Heaton-Harris.

The Cabinet big beasts quit in the wake of last Friday's Chequers summit, at which the Prime Minister's top team signed off her offer to the European Union.

They feared she had committed to too soft a Brexit - including signing up to EU rules on goods and pledging to collect tarrifs on behalf of the bloc.

In his resignation letter, Mr 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.

After the day of turmoil, former Downing Street policy guru George Freeman hinted that the Government was heading for disaster. 

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