Boris Johnson hit an immediate hitch on his first assignment as foreign secretary when the plane carrying him to Brussels for talks with EU officials was forced to make an emergency landing.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed that the aircraft, believed to be an RAF passenger jet, a BAE 146, experienced a technical fault – thought to be an issue with the plane’s hydraulics - and had to land at Luton airport on Sunday.
Flights to and from the airport were grounded while emergency services dealt with the situation.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “There was a technical issue on the RAF flight on Sunday afternoon carrying the foreign secretary and his officials from London to Brussels that required the aircraft to land at Luton airport.
“The foreign secretary thanked the RAF crew for their professionalism and was grateful to Luton airport for the brief, unscheduled welcome. After a short delay, the foreign secretary continued on his way to Brussels by alternative means.”
Johnson’s appointment by Theresa May this week was controversial, with some saying he has a poor record on international relations.
He was booed when giving a speech at the French embassy in London soon after being given the job and the country’s foreign minister accused him of lying during the Brexit campaign.
He also suggested in a Telegraph column that the US president Barack Obama’s “part-Kenyan” heritage had driven him towards anti-British sentiment and referred to black people as “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles”.
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