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EU Chief Blasts New British Prime Minister’s Cabinet Picks

  • VOA News

Staff applaud as Britain's new Prime Minister Theresa May, and her husband Philip, walk into 10 Downing Street after May had met Queen Elizabeth in Buckingham Palace, in central London, Britain, July 13, 2016.

Staff applaud as Britain's new Prime Minister Theresa May, and her husband Philip, walk into 10 Downing Street after May had met Queen Elizabeth in Buckingham Palace, in central London, Britain, July 13, 2016.

European Parliament chief Martin Schulz is blasting the Cabinet picks of new British Prime Minister Theresa May as part of a “dangerously vicious cycle” that will hurt Britons in the long run.

Theresa May became Britain's new prime minister Wednesday and immediately put together her Cabinet to start the tough job of extracting Britain from the European Union.

According to Schulz, the Cabinet picks were designed more to solve internal party political issues than to promote the national interests of Britain.

In a surprise choice, May named former London Mayor Boris Johnson as her foreign secretary. Johnson led the campaign to drop out of the EU. He angered and frustrated many Brits who voted to remain, along with other European leaders who believe Britain made a great mistake.

May also appointed other Brexit supporters to major Cabinet posts, including former Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond as finance minister and Amber Rudd to May's old job of home secretary.

"We will work constructively with the newly elected British government in these difficult times, as we have in the past," Schulz said Thursday in a statement. "However, the composition of the new Cabinet shows that the focus is less on the future of the country but more about satisfying the internal cohesion of the Tory Party.”

Hammond on Thursday said he would not submit an emergency budget in response to the Brexit decision, and would instead submit the budget in the fall, as is customary.

Later in the day Thursday, Hammond is slated to meet with Bank of England governor Mark Carney to discuss the British economy moving forward. The meeting comes at the same time the bank is preparing to announce whether it will cut the interest rate to below 0.5 percent to head off any economic fallout caused by Britain ditching the European Union.

May "made clear we will do an Autumn Statement (budget) in the usual way, in the autumn, and we will look carefully over the summer at the situation", Hammond told Sky News.

Hammond then went on to say that during Brexit negotiations with the European Union he will push for British access to the European market for London’s financial services.

"It's not only in London's interest, it's in the interest of the European Union as well. London provides a crucial financial service," he said.

Conservative lawmaker David Davis will take the newly formed job of minister in charge of negotiations with the European Union that will set up the conditions for leaving. Those talks are expected to take as long as two years.

May is Britain's second female prime minister after the late Margaret Thatcher.

In her first remarks as prime minister, May said a post EU Britain will be a country that will work for everyone and not a "privileged few."

"We will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you," May said.

"Following the referendum [to leave the EU], we face a great national challenge. And I know because we're Great Britain. We will rise to the challenge."

White House spokesman John Earnest said the United States congratulates May and he noted she is familiar to many in Washington.

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