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Boris Johnson to share country residence with David Davis and Liam Fox

Published 18/07/2016

Chevening House is the Foreign Secretary's official country residence
Chevening House is the Foreign Secretary's official country residence

Boris Johnson is to share the Foreign Secretary's official country residence with Cabinet colleagues David Davis and Liam Fox, Downing Street has announced.

The 17th-century manor house Chevening, in Kent, has been used by foreign secretaries since the 1980s as a country retreat and a venue to host international visitors, but under the previous government it was shared by William Hague with deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.

It is expected that the 115-room mansion will now be used by Mr Johnson, Brexit Secretary Mr Davis and International Trade Secretary Dr Fox as and when they have foreign dignitaries to entertain.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May will continue with the recent tradition established by Tony Blair and continued by Gordon Brown and David Cameron of living in the flat above 11 Downing Street while the Chancellor Philip Hammond moves into the Number 10 flat.

Mrs May has not yet spent the night at Downing Street as PM, but is expected to move in shortly.

Mr Blair opted for the larger Number 11 flat because he needed room for his young family. Mrs May's arrival means that for the first time since 1997 neither the PM nor Chancellor has young children to accommodate in the historic buildings.

Mr Hammond will have use of Dorneywood in Buckinghamshire, which has been a country retreat for ministers since the 1940s.

It has usually been occupied by Chancellors, but has also been used by other senior members of the government, including deputy prime minister John Prescott, who was famously photographed playing croquet on its lawn.

Mr Johnson will also have use of 1 Carlton Gardens, near to Buckingham Palace, as his London residence.

Asked why Mrs May had decided the Foreign Secretary should share his country retreat with two colleagues, the PM's official spokeswoman said: "It reflects the fact that all those secretaries of state will as part of their work be meeting and engaging with and hosting foreign visitors and leaders and it will provide an opportunity to do that."

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