HALSTEAD’S MP says he is ready to play a leading role in promoting Britain on the world stage after being handed a new position in the Government.

James Cleverly was appointed minister in the Foreign Office and Department for International Development following a cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week.

Witham MP Priti Patel kept her role as Home Secretary but there were some big name casualties such as Chancellor Sajid Javid, Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith and and Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom.

The reshuffle saw Mr Cleverly leave his role as cabinet member without portfolio and Conservative Party chairman to take up the ministerial role in the Foreign Office.

Mr Cleverly will be focusing his time on north Africa and the Middle East and says he was offered the role following a conversation with the party’s chief whip.

He said: “I have always wanted to be in the department and have always been interested in global politics.

“Getting a job in the Foreign Office at a really important time when the UK needs to be progressing itself is very exciting.

“With Brexit done, there is now a real opportunity to put Britain up on the world stage again and show we are a global nation.

“We are free to chose what we want to and can grow economically which will have benefits for local issues such as policing, hospitals and GPs.”

He added: “My areas are some of the most important and sensitive parts of the world so it will take a lot of hard work but I am ready for it.

“It was straight in the deep end for me because I was already off on a plane for meetings 16 hours after being offered the job.”

Mr Cleverly spent around eight months as Tory chairman, having been appointed last July when Boris Johnson won the race to be party leader and Prime Minister in succession to Theresa May.

He described his time in the role as a “privilege” and insisted he was grateful for the opportunity to be Mr Johnson’s “man on the ground”.

Mr Cleverly said: “For me, being party chairman was an honour – I loved it.

“I took over as chairman after the European elections, which for a variety of different reasons, didn’t go how we wanted it to.

“I knew there was a General Election ahead of us so it was a case of getting the party ready to fight for votes and boosting morale at grassroots level.

“I was lucky because I was able to do the one thing everyone wants which is be chairman during a General Election.

“It was the icing on the cake to get the result we did and get a really solid majority for Boris to work with.”