British FM uttered expletive after being offered her job

LONDON, June 28, 2006 (AFP) – Margaret Beckett, Britain’s first female foreign secretary, revealed Wednesday that she uttered a rather undiplomatic swear word when Prime Minister Tony Blair offered her the job last month.

"I was stunned," Beckett, a former environment minister, told The Times newspaper, recalling the moment when Blair asked her if she would take one of the seniormost posts in government as part of a cabinet reshuffle on May 5.

The 63-year-old said her reply to him was: "One word and four-lettered."

Pressed on whether the word began with "f" or "s", she admitted it was an "f".

Fortunately for Beckett, Blair was apparently amused by her outburst and she was duly appointed to take over from Jack Straw.

Beckett said that with the new portfolio, which immediately took up heated debate about Iran’s disputed nuclear programme, "I was thrown into the deep end."