World reacts to Boris Johnson’s “Astonishing Comeback” as Foreign Secretary

This week saw huge changes in the political landscape of the United Kingdom following David Cameron’s resignation.  The new Prime Minister Theresa May quickly began a ‘brutal reshuffle’ of the cabinet, with only 6 of the 25 Ministers remaining in their former positions.

The biggest surprise came with May’s appointment of Boris Johnson as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (a.k.a. Foreign Secretary).  As one of the key faces of the Leave campaign and the former Mayor of London, many predicted that he would take over from Cameron and become the next leader of the Conservative party and the new Prime Minister. Based on the global public reaction to May’s decision, no one expected that he would be appointed as Foreign Secretary.

Angela Eagle’s Reaction

Labour leadership contender Angela Eagle was speaking at a pro-European event in London and joking about Boris Johnson when the news of the appointment broke.  In a later interview she explained that she felt that it was not appropriate for the United Kingdom to have a Foreign Secretary who “went around the country telling people blatant lies”, citing his remark that US President Obama’s “Kenyan roots had made him more pro-European”.

Twitter Mentions of Boris

Mentions of Boris Johnson on Twitter have been largely negative since the announcement of his position, resulting in an Adorescore of -37.  High levels of the high activation emotions rage and loathing have been expressed toward the appointment, and these feelings are spurring his opponents to action.  His first speech in his new role took place yesterday in the French Embassy in London, and he was booed by some of the guests at the event.

Global Online Reaction

Boris Johnson has always been known to speak his mind, perhaps with little regard for his audience or position at times.  We take a look at some of the countries that he has infamously offended.



In May 2016, Boris Johnson compared the EU’s aims to those of Hitler, stating that Hitler and Napoleon sought the unification of Europe, and “the EU is an attempt to do this by different methods”.  This statement sparked outrage across Europe.  

Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier referred to Boris’ behaviour in the run up to the EU Referendum as “deceitful” and “reckless”.  Regarding Johnson’s appointment, he added “To be honest, I find this outrageous. It’s not just bitter for Great Britain. It’s also bitter for the EU.”


During his tenure as Mayor of London, Johnson claimed to have told the mayor of Bordeaux that he was “mayor of the sixth biggest French city on earth”, as there were 250,000 French people living in London at the time.

France’s foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault said that Boris’ appointment was a “sign of the British political crisis that has come out of the referendum vote.”  He also claimed that Johnson had told many lies to the British public during the referendum and added that “and now it is him with his back against the wall.”


The Prime Minister of Turkey, Binali Yildirim said that Johnson had made an “unfortunate statement” when he spoke negatively of the Turkish leader in the run up to the referendum. Boris had written a limerick which described the Turkish PM as a “wankerer” (with the spelling error being included to rhyme with the Turkish capital Ankara).  Binali also said “May God help him and reform him”. Another Turkish official stated that “his negative comments on Erdogan and Turkey are unacceptable…However, we are sure of one thing, that British-Turkish relations are more important than that and can’t be hostage to these statements”.


It remains to be seen if Boris will clean up his act now that he has been promoted to the prestigious position of Foreign Secretary, but judging by the reaction online and in the press, it seems that few have faith that he will change.  
We suspect there might be a few more blunders to come.

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