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British PM May appoints Jeremy Hunt new foreign minister

British Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed Jeremy Hunt as foreign minister after Boris Johnson resigned in protest at the government’s plans for a close trading relationship with the European Union after Brexit next year.

The British prime minister’s office said in statement  on Monday that the Queen has been pleased to approve the new appointment.

Johnson stepped down on Monday over May’s plan for Brexit, which include remaining closely aligned to EU rules on manufactured goods.

Hunt is the long-serving health minister and a close ally of May.  He had served as health minister for more than 5-1/2 years, the longest term of any in the history of the state-funded National Health Service. Matt Hancock replaced Hunt as Health Secretary.

Hunt’s appointment could alter the Brexit balance of May’s top ministerial team. Hunt backed “Remain” during the 2016 referendum campaign.

However, in October 2017 Hunt said he had changed his mind on the issue, and slammed disappointing “arrogance” in the EU’s behavior during Brexit negotiations.

Last month, Hunt criticized Airbus and other such businesses who had issued warnings about moving jobs because of Brexit. He added that they should instead be getting behind May in her push for a good deal on leaving the EU.

On Monday, Johnson became the third minister in 24 hours to quit the government rather than back May’s strategy for Brexit.