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New British PM Boris Johnson appoints Pakistan-origin Sajid Javid as finance minister

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 24 July 2019, 11:52 PM
New British PM Johnson appoints Pakistan-origin Sajid Javid as finance minister
New British PM Johnson appoints Pakistan-origin Sajid Javid as finance minister

Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed Sajid Javid as finance minister, a promotion for the former interior minister who struggled to make his mark under Theresa May. Javid, 49, is the son of a Pakistani bus driver who was advised at school to become a television repairman. He has recounted how his father came to Britain from Pakistan with one pound in his pocket and how he faced racial abuse at school.

Boris Johnson officially became Britain's new Prime Minister on Wednesday and promised to leave the European Union on October 31 "no ifs, no buts" under a "new deal" with the 28-member economic bloc.

The 55-year-old former foreign secretary and London Mayor laid out his vision as Prime Minister in his first speech on the steps of Downing Street after a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, during which the 93-year-old monarch formally invited him to form a government after accepting Theresa May's resignation a little earlier.

"We will restore trust in our democracy and we are going to fulfil the repeated promises of Parliament to the people and come out of the EU on October 31, no ifs or buts," Johnson said, adding that while he does have 99 days to that deadline, the country has had enough of waiting and the time to act on Brexit is right away.

"Brexit was a fundamental decision by the British people. We must now respect that decision and create a new partnership with our European friends. The work begins immediately behind that black door and I take personal responsibility of the change I want to see. Never mind the backstop, the buck stops here," the prime minister said just before he went into that iconic black No. 10 door of Downing Street, the British PM's office.

However, mindful of not just focussing on Brexit at this "extraordinary moment in history", he laid out a range of other promises around 20,000 additional police to make Britain's streets safer, introducing crucial social care and education reforms as well as begin work on free trade deals around the world.

Johnson, who has in the past described himself as a “son-in-law of India” by virtue of his now estranged wife Marina Wheeler's Indian mother - Dip Kaur, has stressed that the UK's relationship with India must run deeper than just trade.

In reference to India-UK relations, Johnson is on the record saying he wants to pursue a new trade deal and is expected to build on his self-confessed "personal relationship" with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deliver a "truly special" bilateral relationship.

Johnson becomes the 14th Prime Minister to be appointed by Queen Elizabeth II, the 55th to hold the post of British PM and the third in fairly quick succession since Britain voted to leave the EU in June 2016 -- following on from David Cameron and Theresa May.

May, who was forced to resign amid a mounting rebellion from within her party over her Brexit strategy that failed to clear the Parliament votes threshold three times, had been functioning as a caretaker Prime Minister during the course of the Tory leadership.

First Published: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 11:30 PM
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