An extraordinary first week for Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson before his meeting at the United Nations Image copyright EPA
Image caption Boris Johnson before his meeting at the United Nations' headquarters in New York

Boris Johnson has had an extraordinary first week in office.

The UK's new foreign secretary had hardly finished a tour of his King Charles Street office before he was forced to deal with the attempted coup in Turkey.

He has hosted two conferences in London on the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

He has toured the diplomatic capitals of Brussels, Washington and New York, shaking hands with a flurry of fellow foreign ministers whose names he will now struggle to recall.

He has spoken and voted in the United Nations Security Council. He has been savaged by US journalists before the world's cameras, accused of being a liar who had insulted a woman who might just be the next president.

Read full article An extraordinary first week for Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson: Super ambassador?

Boris Johnson Image copyright AFP

Boris Johnson is not the first foreign secretary to be booed.

Lord Castlereagh, architect of the post-Napoleonic European order, was jeered in 1822 as he lay dead in his coffin, the crowd outside his Westminster Abbey funeral showing their anger at his domestic repression, not his diplomatic renown.

Read full article Boris Johnson: Super ambassador?

Brexit: Foreign secretary says UK must 'pedal faster'

The union flag flying next to a row of EU flags Image copyright EPA

Gathered this week in the august grandeur of the Locarno rooms at the Foreign Office were more than 200 of Britain's most senior diplomats.

They had come together from all corners of the world not for a post-Brexit panic, but for their annual knees-up - otherwise known as "the leadership conference".

Read full article Brexit: Foreign secretary says UK must 'pedal faster'

Tory leadership choice will define UK-EU relationship

Theresa May Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mrs May's stance on free movement appears to vary from other leadership contenders

Put aside for a moment the Shakespearian psychodrama of the Tory leadership contest.

For a key difference has opened up between the contenders that could have a huge impact on Britain's future relationship with the EU after Brexit.

Read full article Tory leadership choice will define UK-EU relationship

Could UK be forced into quick EU exit?

Lisbon Treaty Article 50 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Lawyers are studying Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty

We have voted to leave the EU but when will we actually start negotiating our exit?

There is lots to discuss with our EU colleagues: what to do with half-used EU budgets and EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens living in the EU. There is also, of course, the thorny issue of Britain's future trading relationship with the EU once we leave.

Read full article Could UK be forced into quick EU exit?

Jo Cox killing is an assault on democracy

Tributes to Jo Cox in Parliament Square Image copyright Getty Images

There are moments at Westminster when time stands still, when the noise of the latest campaign or election is hushed, when this vast political village stops and catches its breath.

So it was this afternoon as news came through that Jo Cox had been attacked.

Read full article Jo Cox killing is an assault on democracy

Little Englander? Not in Thatcher's world

  • 8 June 2016
  • From the section World
Lady Thatcher

David Cameron's riff about wanting to see "a strong Britain in Europe" rather than "Nigel Farage's little England" reminds me of a Conservative Party conference in the late 1990s.

We were in Blackpool and conference-goers would cluster in a small handful of restaurants.

Read full article Little Englander? Not in Thatcher's world

G7 summit could be rocky for Cameron

  • 25 May 2016
  • From the section World
David Cameron receives flowers from Japanese school children upon his arrival at Chubu Centrair International Airport in Tokoname, Aichi Prefecture, central Japan, 25 May 2016 Image copyright EPA
Image caption David Cameron will hope for support for his EU referendum campaign

There is an old joke about summits being places where politicians gather to agree that "summat" ought to be done.

And it is true that many international meetings produce more words than actions. But at this week's meeting of G7 industrialised nations in Japan, words will probably be enough for David Cameron, so long as they support Britain staying in the EU.

Read full article G7 summit could be rocky for Cameron

Why Cameron went public over Blairmore shares

David and Ian Cameron Image copyright AP
Image caption Ian Cameron died in September 2010

When a politician is under pressure, facing questions about their family and their finances, their natural instinct is to protect their privacy and say as little as possible.

But when that pressure gets too great, there comes a moment when they have to go public and for David Cameron that moment came last night.

Read full article Why Cameron went public over Blairmore shares

Conservatives, Europe and the risks of a disunited party

Iain Duncan Smith speaking in the House of Commons in the early 1990s
Image caption Divisions over Europe which came to a head in the early 1990s have remained unreconciled

I have come full circle. In the early 1990s, I arrived at Westminster as a young reporter, there to help chronicle the decline of the Conservative Party for The Times.

The then prime minister, John Major, had a small parliamentary majority and large parliamentary problem: a party divided to the core over Britain's membership of the European Union, divisions that were under laid by deep-set personal feuds, all the while potential successors for the leadership circled and plotted and agitated against Downing Street.

Read full article Conservatives, Europe and the risks of a disunited party