New UK finance minister expresses shock over Abe death, after earlier tweet error

British government crisis

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain's new finance minister Nadhim Zahawi sent his condolences to Japan on Friday following the death of former prime minister Shinzo Abe, saying he had lost his life in pursuit of a noble aim to make the world a better place.

Zahawi had earlier deleted a tweet in which he expressed his shock at Abe's death, before any update had been given on his condition.

Japan's longest-serving leader died on Friday after being shot while campaigning for a parliamentary election.

"Today's news from Japan is heartbreaking," Zahawi said. "We enter politics to serve and to try and make the world a better place. Shinzo Abe has lost his life in pursuit of that noble aim. May he rest in eternal peace."

Zahawi, a former education minister, was appointed to run Britain's finance ministry on Tuesday as the government of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson started to collapse.

Johnson, who will step down in the coming months after his Conservative Party turned against him, also expressed his shock at the news, saying Britain stood with Japan at this "dark and sad time".

(Reporting by Kate Holton, Editing by Angus MacSwan)