Netherlands prime minister to become next Nato secretary general

Who is Mark Rutte?

Mark Rutte has been Dutch prime minister since 2010 but saw his fourth cabinet collapse last July due to immigration policy disagreements.

This led to early elections in the Netherlands but Rutte did not lead his centre-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy into the election.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has been named the next secretary general of Nato, succeeding Jens Stoltenberg.

Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer have both welcomed the appointment, with the new leader set to take charge at the start of October.

Meanwhile, David Cameron, the foreign secretary, said the appointment meant “Nato is in safe hands”.

The changeover comes at a turbulent time, with the continuing war in Ukraine, and the wider standoff between Nato and Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Trump has been an outspoken critic of Nato allies not spending the required two per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defence.

What other roles has he held?

Rutte has been involved in politics since the 1990s, when he combined his business interests with his involvement within the VVD party – also known as the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy.

He was elected as an MP in 2003 and served as social secretary and then education secretary before becoming party leader in 2006. The party won the election in 2010.

Rutte "is seen as a safe pair of hands to lead Nato in turbulent times, just as Stoltenberg has done for the last decade," Oana Lungescu, a former chief Nato spokesperson, said.  Although he has been one of Europe's top politicians for years, Rutte has remained down-to-earth and can often be seen riding his bicycle around his hometown of the Hague. When he handed in his government's resignation to King Willem-Alexander last year, he drove to an ornate royal palace in a Saab 93 estate.