LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson opened an account on professional networking site LinkedIn on Tuesday, saying he wanted to use it as a way to talk more directly to the business community.
Listing his job title as “Prime Minister of the United Kingdom”, Johnson’s first post on the website was a video thanking businesses for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic and promising to “do right by them too”.
“Businesses of all sizes are vital to this country and I want to connect more directly with you as we build back better, stronger than ever before,” he said.
Despite him being seen as pro-business when he championed financial services when he was mayor of London, Johnson’s record has been clouded by his widely reported dismissal of companies’ concerns about Britain’s exit from the European Union.
By joining LinkedIn and its 700 million users worldwide, Johnson is opening another route to bypassing traditional media outlets that have been sharply critical of his sometimes rocky, year-old administration, replete with U-turns on key policies including those dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.
Johnson has already used Facebook to broadcast question and answer sessions with the public, and plans to televise daily briefing with reporters later this year.
This week the government will launch a campaign to encourage employees back to the workplace after the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, seeking to prevent further damage to businesses in city centers that rely on passing trade.
His page lists previous employment, such as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Mayor of London. He has not listed his early career as a newspaper journalist.
His video promised updates on government support to business and encouraged workers to contact him directly with their concerns. “Please, do go ahead, follow me on LinkedIn and let me know which topics you’d like to hear more about,” he said.
Reporting by William James, editing by Estelle Shirbon and Mark Heinrich
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