As a football-mad youngster, among my memorable Shoot magazine stories were those detailing the debut performance of players who went on to become household names. It was heartening how many of the future superstars bombed first time out. The UK’s new Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, a sports fanatic criticised for playing cricket the day after Brexit, will do well to fish out some of those old articles. Because he was clearly on edge in his first engagement with the US Press corps (video highlights below). The hacks seemed more interested in controversial comments Johnson wrote during his many years in journalism (the juiciest taken out of context) than the real world issues he wanted to address – like the humanitarian crises in Syria, Yemen, and Egypt. But instead of relaxing into the role, an increasingly frustrated Johnson clearly lost his usual sense of humour. All round, a poor first effort one where if he were on a field the coach would have pulled him off at half time. But like those soccer debutants, Boris Johnson is sure to improve. Sometimes a dollop of humility can amplify future contributions by the gifted. – Alec Hogg
There can be no trade deal between Britain and the U.S. until the country’s exit from the European Union is complete, U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry said.
“Though clearly, you can begin to pencil things in, you can’t ink them in, and that’s entirely right and proper,” Johnson told reporters in London Tuesday when asked about the possibility of a bilateral post-Brexit trade agreement. Kerry told a joint news conference with Johnson that it would be “physically impossible” to negotiate a deal with the U.K. while it remains part of the EU.
The comments came after Johnson and Kerry said the “special relationship” between the two countries would continue despite last month’s Brexit vote. After a meeting in which the two discussed foreign-policy issues including the Middle East, Kerry said he’s “absolutely confident” the countries will continue to have “special and unbreakable ties.”
Johnson, a key proponent of Brexit who was surprisingly named as foreign secretary by May after he pulled out from challenging her for the premiership, was grilled by reporters on previous gaffes. The former London mayor, who said during the referendum campaign that President Barack Obama’s “part-Kenyan” ancestry made him hostile to Britain and previously compared presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to a “sadistic nurse in a mental hospital,” refused to apologize for any past undiplomatic remarks.