Will Boris Johnson visit Trump first as PM – and which other foreign leaders are on the list?
Politics Explained: His first major event on the world stage will be at the G7 summit in Biarritz next month, but Mr Johnson will want to reset strained relations beforehand
If Boris Johnson emerges victorious in the Conservative leadership contest next week, expect the traditional flurry of congratulatory phone calls from foreign leaders once he enters Downing Street.
This will be the relatively easy bit. Harder will be repairing relations with nations and leaders in a series of overseas visits – especially ones he has insulted (think describing the French as “turds”).
His credentials – serving as foreign secretary for just short of two years – mean he is no stranger to the secretive world of diplomacy. They would also, theoretically, set him up well to charm the UK’s closest allies. Though, his record at the Foreign Office is not exactly one most would boast about.
His first major event on the world stage will be at the G7 summit in Biarritz just next month, and here Mr Johnson will meet the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US.
Before that, however, there is speculation he could travel to either Berlin or Paris in the first few weeks of his premiership as he seeks to deliver on his pledge to the Tory grassroots to restart the Brexit negotiations.
He could – like his predecessor – tour the major European capitals in attempt to bypass the European Commission in any negotiations, though this was a tactic that failed so spectacularly for Ms May.
It’s clear that Mr Johnson will want to head to Washington DC at the earliest opportunity in an attempt to repair the strained transatlantic alliance.
Shortly after Donald Trump’s inauguration as US president, Ms May was the first foreign leader to visit the White House in what many interpreted as a major diplomatic coup at the time.
Expect a visit to Washington being at the top of his agenda to reset the “special relationship”. In return, he will be expecting warm words about the possibility of a US-UK post-Brexit trade deal from Mr Trump.
Earlier this week, The Times claimed Mr Johnson’s allies were aiming for a US visit being pencilled in the diary in the first few months of a Johnson premiership – around the time of the United Nations general assembly in mid-September.
An ally of Mr Johnson told the newspaper: “The key to whole thing is the US. If we get a trade deal with America we will be very quickly in the market for other deals. It encourages others to realise that we mean business.”