The Treasury takes over

Writing in Politico, Tim King looks at the turf wars behind Boris Johnson’s appointment as Foreign Secretary. He concludes:

May has set in train a curious institutional competition: On the one hand, a venerable government department, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, headed by an inexperienced minister, Boris Johnson. On the other hand, a neophyte government department for Brexit, headed by a battle-hardened veteran, David Davis.

From the outset, the competition looks fixed: The winner will be the Treasury.

This chimes with my own view that Johnson’s appointment only makes sense when considered in the context of the now three foreign facing departments: Brexit, headed by a serious politician; Foreign Trade, headed by a serious politician; and Everything Else, headed by Boris Johnson.

Theresa May is concerned about trade and Britain’s future relationship with the EU, but Britain is no longer a world power and May sees the country’s relationship with the rest of the world solely in terms of trade.

Whether you see this attitude as realistic or lacking in ambitions will probably depend on how you already view the country, but one conclusion is unavoidable. The Treasury – and, by extension, the markets – are now very firmly in charge.