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Boris Johnson assigns key items to Brexit hardliners

A few hours after he took office, the new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced his cabinet.

Johnson reshuffled most ministry positions and filled key posts with Brexit hardliners such as Dominic Raab (Foreign Minister), Priti Patel (Interior Minister) and Michael Gove (Deputy Prime Minister). The faction leader in the lower house becomes “Upper Brexiteer” Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Johnson reiterated that he would wind up leaving the EU “without any ifs and buts” by 31 October. In London, thousands of people protested in the evening against the new head of government. They demanded immediate elections.

Raab is to follow according to the government on the previously dismissed Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt. He said he had knocked out another offered by Johnson other items. Hunt was Johnson in the party’s primary election for the succession of Prime Minister Theresa May at the head of the Tories clearly inferior.

The former Interior Minister Sajid Javid appointed Johnson Finance Minister. The ex-banker takes over from Philip Hammond. Hammond had resigned shortly before Johnson’s inauguration and justified this with his determination to lead the UK out of the EU by October 31 if necessary, even without a Brexit agreement. In addition to Hammond, Justice Minister David Gauke and Development Minister Rory Stewart also resigned their posts.

The future Minister of the Interior Patel resigned 2017 because of unannounced meetings with politicians in Israel as Minister of Development. She represents as well as Raab and Javid a hard line in the Brexit dispute. It was already known in advance that Johnson appointed the Brexit campaign strategist Dominic Cummings as a senior advisor to his team.

A key position also received the leader of the Brexiter in the lower house, Jacob Rees-Mogg. As a majority leader in parliament, he should ensure that Johnson can enforce his EU exit route. The lower house has hopelessly quarreled in the Brexit question. On several occasions, it rejected the exit agreement with the EU negotiated by Johnsons predecessor Theresa May, but at the same time put a stop to unregulated Brexit.

As a minister without his own department, Johnson appointed his companion Michael Gove. The previous environment minister was one of the leaders of the Brexit campaign. A comeback is celebrated by former Secretary of Defense Gavin Williamson, who is taking over the education department. Williamson was fired by Theresa May in May, who blamed him for an information leak that exposed a possible involvement of the Chinese technology giant Huawei in 5G grid expansion in the UK.

Just minutes after being appointed by Queen Elizabeth II, 55-year-old Johnson reiterated his tough stance on the issue of leaving the EU. He expressed optimism in his 12-minute talk on Downing Street 10 that he could achieve a better agreement with the EU than his predecessor May.

Johnson is already the 14th head of government, who came under Elizabeth II in office. “The British are tired of waiting,” said the new head of government with a view to the planned EU exit. The vote for Brexit had been a “fundamental decision” by the British for “their laws to be decided by people who were elected by them and can cast them out of office.”

EU Council President Donald Tusk congratulated “Dear Boris” on his appointment. He expects a meeting with him to talk about “our cooperation” in detail, Tusk said. Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein also congratulated the new head of government, but at the same time expressed his predecessor May “Thanks and deep respect”. Austria remains “fully committed to the Brexit agreement negotiated between the EU and London,” she added on Twitter. ÖVP boss Sebastian Kurz also joined his congratulations with the courtship for an “orderly exit”. On Twitter, he published a photo that shows him and Johnson shortly before the National Council election in October 2017 in London, in their former functions as Foreign Minister.

Thousands of people protested in the evening against the new prime minister in London. They moved to Johnson’s office on Downing Street, which had to be temporarily closed. On Thursday, the new head of government expects more protests: The opposition Labor Party called for the evening to a demonstration for new elections. According to a survey published by the YouGov institute, Johnson’s approval rate in the population is only 31 percent.