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Boris Johnson left in charge while PM away on her holiday

By Gavin Cordon

Published 16/08/2016

Duty minister: Boris Johnson
Duty minister: Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has for the first time become the senior duty minister in Whitehall while Theresa May is on holiday, Downing Street has said.

The Foreign Secretary takes over from Chancellor Philip Hammond, who was the senior duty minister last week when the Prime Minister began her annual walking holiday in Switzerland.

A No 10 spokesman stressed, however, that Mrs May still remained very much in charge of the Government, even though she was out of the country.

"The Prime Minister is very much in charge and is constantly kept abreast of what is going on," the spokesman said.

The disclosure comes after leaked correspondence revealed that International Trade Secretary Liam Fox sought to take key powers from Mr Johnson in what was seen as the start of a new Whitehall turf war.

In a letter obtained by the Sunday Telegraph, Dr Fox argued that his newly-formed department should be given control of "economic diplomacy" to ensure there was a "holistic approach" to future trade negotiations following the vote to leave the EU.

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