William Hague's 10 step guide to being foreign secretary for Boris Johnson

 
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Hague said he was busier than ever in this role (Source: Getty)

A Tory grandee and an often cited great parliamentarian, former foreign secretary (and Conservative leader) William Hague has some advice for his (once removed) successor.

Johnson has already had to deal with fallout from Nice and Turkey, while having met many foreign counterparts in fairly tricky waters, given the post-Brexit vote context of conversations.

So, kindly, writing in the Telegraph, Hague has the following advice for Boris to navigate those choppy waters. Pay attention to the small print:

Make the most of your unusual advantage, Boris

Vaguely insultingly, Hague says Johnson should make the most of being known but underestimated at the same time.

Oh, and, the job isn't just about Brexit.

Strengthen friendships

Old and new, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand where relationships, Hague says, have been on the mend since 2010 after Labour neglect.

Reject suggestions the UK's influence has shrunk

Emerging powers are getting stronger, but that doesn't detract from the UK, Hague states.

"As we raise our defence spending again, we should use our seat at the UN Security Council with confidence and not let the mistakes made over Iraq neuter our readiness to act. The worst thing that happened to me was parliament refusing to take action in Syria, which emboldened Moscow, Assad and terrorist extremists alike."

Policy-making focus should be on Turkey and the Middle East

It's a key faultline in international affairs. Britain also has a huge stake in a stable and well-governed Turkey, and has more influence there than in most countries. "It’s worth trying to use it."

Europe is not the EU

Prove the point you've espoused again and again. Do this by pushing initiatives in the south east of the continent.

Help a settlement in Cyprus and maintain influence in the Balkans to stop it sliding into confrontation.

Asia Pacific

We've put Chinese relations on a better footing, but let's not ignore Japan and the Philippines, for example.

Try and encourage a broad partnership on international issues between Beijing and Washington.

Hope, hope and continue to hope that Donald Trump doesn't take the White House.

A special relationship

Go to the US quickly and explain what will and will not change after Brexit.

The US should put us at the front of a trade queue. We do, after all, have the advantage of being a strong ally, with a huge development budget, a deployable army, a renewed nuclear deterrent, vast soft power and a global centre of creativity.

Use the UK's assets

Use them to improve the condition of humanity. Fight slavery, prevent sexual violence in conflict and stem the flow of refugees.

Team player

You've got David Davis and Liam Fox in your team now. You're responsible for the details of leaving the EU and new relationships. Best you sort out who does what, and that you have a coherent message.

Foreign policy thinking

Build the foreign office into one of the great institutions of foreign policy thinking in the world.

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