British PM asks Foreign Office to focus on commerce news
22 July 2010

British PM David Cameron on an earlier trip to India as an MPThe famed stiff upper lip is set to loosen a bit and turn glibly commercial, very likely, with newly installed British prime minister David Cameron asking the staid British Foreign Office to reorient itself and focus on promoting the country's commerce.

The staid portals of the Foreign Office are due for more shocks with the new coalition government considering the appointment of business personalities as ambassadors.

Underlining the new policy orientation will be the announcement tomorrow of the appointment of Simon Fraser as head of the diplomatic service and permanent secretary at the Foreign Office. Fraser currently heads the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills whose previous minister was Lord Mandelson of the Labour Party.

Fraser is a civil service officer who is considered to be an expert on world trade. Though previously part of the Foreign Service, Fraser departed after being recruited by Lord Mandelson as his chief of staff on his move to Brussels as the European trade commissioner.

In a related move the Foreign Office will also recruit for a commercial director as a senior appointment.

What may leave the senior echelons of the foreign service cadre quite worried would be the intention of the new coalition government to appoint business personalities as ambassadors in the same manner as the United States. It is only after a lifetime of service that senior personnel qualify to take over as ambassadors at key postings around the world, and that opportunity may now slip out of grasp.

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British PM asks Foreign Office to focus on commerce