Brexit priority for new ambassador   

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The new British ambassador to Portugal has officially taken office after presenting his credentials to the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

Chris Sainty was appointed in January to take over from Kirsty Hayes who left Portugal in the summer.

In his video message to the British community in Portugal, which numbers around 40,000, he said: “You won’t be surprised that Brexit is the number one issue for me” adding that: “My top priority is doing what I can to protect the interests of the British community in Portugal” and that: “I will work with the Portuguese authorities to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your families.”

Father of three, Christopher James Sainty worked at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office as European Correspondent and Head of Europe (south) Department, Europe Directorate between 2015 and 2017.

Before that in 2011 he was Deputy Head of Mission between 2011 and 2015, political councillor, Islamabad (2008-2010) and Deputy Head of Mission at the Hague (2006-2008).

Between 2004-2006 he was Head of the EU Presidency Department for the FCO and from 2000-2004 he worked in Madrid as the First Secretary (Political). He has also worked in New Delhi, Hong Kong and at the FCO Security Policy Unit.

A career diplomat since 1989, Lisbon will be Christopher Sainty’s first posting as an ambassador.