Britain Videos: Shock and Laughter — How the World Reacted to Boris Johnson’s Appointment

PHOTO: US State Department spokesman Mark Kirby hears the news that Boris Johnson is Britain’s Foreign Secretary

On Thursday, Boris Johnson — former Mayor of London and, in the words of US officials, “mistake-prone former journalist” — become Britain’s Foreign Secretary.

See Britain Analysis: A Buffoon as Foreign Secretary — Idiocy or A Clever Political Move?

So how did the world react?

In the US, State Department Mark Kirby struggles to hod back disbelief and laughter before pulling it together for a diplomatic response:

German Foreign Franz-Walter Steinmeier is blunt about the “irresponsible” politician who “flew the coop” after the damaging vote to leave the European Union:

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault uses the usually forbidden L-word, “During the campaign he lied a lot to the British people and now it is he who has his back against the wall”:

Russia State outlet RT, which has been overjoyed at the UK’s Brexit implosion, piles on the mockery:

Back home, Angela Eagle — who is trying to become leader of the opposition Labour Party — is left speechless:

But maybe the last word is with the person who put up the sign outside Johnson’s London home, seen just after the Foreign Minister gave an interview after returning from a visit to his new office:

“Sorry World”.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.


  1. He always looks amused. Also, it all starts with the parents, what parents give their son the name “Boris”?

    • What’s wrong with the name “Boris” ?
      Maybe his parents had a friend called Boris, or an uncle; or maybe they like the opera. If you have a common surname, it is a good thing to have an unusual Christian name. Otherwise you can’t be found by a search engine.
      I think the appointment could be a success. We need to make a splash in the world as a newly independent country, and one of our biggest strengths is in the export of creative work — art, music, literature, industrial design. Boris will be ideal for presenting overseas shows of British work.
      Who knows who the foreign minister of Austria is ?
      No doubt he will cause offence in some quarters, especially among those who take themselves too seriously.

        • Publicity is good for trade. Trade with the world is now our top priority.

          Some of that will be in high tech manufactured goods, but much will be in services such as scientific consultancy, as well as entertainment products and intellectual property.

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