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Boris Johnson, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in press conference at french foreign Ministry after a work diner with Jean-Marc Ayrault.

Boris Johnson Accused of Failure to Prepare his Whitehall Department for Brexit

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Diplomatic Editor of The Guardian and select committee member, Patrick Wintour, accused Boris Johnson of being unprepared for Brexit. Wintour says Johnson should make his department’s role clearer and must outline policies.

Mixed Messages

Wintour also extended his criticisms of Johnson to include his having sent mixed messages regarding Brexit. He has been inconsistent in his statements about the Foreign Office’s role in the United Kingdom’s negotiations to withdraw from the European Union, said the foreign affairs select committee.

The committee released a report on Tuesday pointing to a great need for foreign secretary Johnson to outline two main issues in order to clear up his mixed messages. The first is to provide a definition for his “global Britain” term. The second is to describe the relationship the United Kingdom sought to maintain with the European Union when it comes to foreign policy and security.

These accusations only further the sentiment in Westminster, as well as in Europe, that the perception of a lack of leadership and divisions inside the government are making it more difficult for it to accurately describe its post-Brexit relationship with the E.U.

United Kingdom’s Vision of the Future

In February, Theresa May is expected to articulate her plans for future defense partnerships with Europe. At that time, she will be making a speech in Munich, in which she should outline the country’s intentions.

It’s likely that the P.M. will offer the U.K.’s military support on European missions. This will include permanent military staff at E.U. military headquarters provided the British staff participates in mission planning from its beginning.

That said, the foreign affairs select committee has also called for the prime minister to directly state that the United Kingdom wants a seat and a voice (though preferably an actual vote) in key weekly European meetings between the Political and Security Committee (PSC) and E.U. ambassadors. That weekly meeting is held to negotiate common foreign policy, frequently before E.U. foreign affairs meetings.

The select committee’s report indicated that British foreign ministers should seek a monthly meeting with their E.U. counterparts, preferably before the monthly E.U. foreign affairs council.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Alvexo on the matter.