Outrage as Boris Johnson steps onto world stage

Hillary Clinton was insulted by Boris Johnson in 2007. Picture: Getty
Hillary Clinton was insulted by Boris Johnson in 2007. Picture: Getty
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Governments around the globe have reacted to Boris Johnson’s appointment as UK foreign secretary.

The French and German foreign ministers respectively called him “a liar with his back to the wall” and someone whose behaviour has been “monstrous”.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said: “He lied a lot to the British. Now, it’s him with his back against the wall to defend his country and to clarify his relationship with Europe.”

The French minister said he needs a negotiating partner who is “clear, credible and reliable” for the upcoming negotiations on Britain’s stated desire to leave the EU.

Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, described Johnson’s behaviour during the referendum as “ungeheuerlich” – monstrous or outrageous.

“People [in the UK] are experiencing a rude awakening after irresponsible politicians first lured the country into Brexit and then, once the decision was made, decided to bolt from responsibility, and instead go off and play cricket,” Steinmeier said. He was referencing Johnson’s decision the day after the vote to play cricket at the Althorp estate, the stately home of Earl Spencer.

He added: “To be honest, I find this outrageous. It’s not just bitter for Great Britain. It’s also bitter for the EU.”

Johnson, 52, has insulted Barack Obama by making fun of his ancestry, penned a vulgar limerick about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and likened US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton as “a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital”.

There was no word from Clinton’s camp on whether she had forgiven his 2007 description of her.

“I wish it was a joke but I fear it isn’t,” former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt tweeted at the news.