David Frost resigns from cabinet
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Lord Frost, who led Brexit negotiations with Brussels, terminated his resignation on Saturday evening following “concerns about the current direction of travel” of Boris Johnson’s Government. The bombshell announcement, described by veteran Tory MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown as a “further hammer blow” to the Prime Minister, comes after a historic defeat in the North Shropshire by-election and a furious backlash over alleged lockdown breaches inside Number 10 last December.
Lord Frost will leave a huge void after he oversaw the signing of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement in January 2020 and EU trade deal 11 months later.
A shortlist of ardent Brexiteers are understood to be in the running to replace the Brexit supremo.
They include the Speaker of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries and former Brexit Secretary David Davis.
Former Brexit Minister Steve Baker and deputy chair of the influential European Research Group, David Jones, are also thought to be under consideration.
Lord Frost’s successor will need to hit the ground running as talks continue with the EU over the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol, created to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland.
In his resignation letter, Lord Frost insisted “Brexit is now secure”, but added: “The challenge for the Government now is to deliver on the opportunities it gives us.”
The Brexit chief also raised concerns about the tightening of Covid restrictions and expressed his wish that the UK would become a “lightly regulated, low-tax” country.
Reports suggest he notified the Prime Minister of his intension to leave last week and the pair agreed this would be finalised in January – but after the news became public last night Lord Frost quit immediately.
Mr Johnson he was “very sorry” to have received his resignation.
The departure of Lord Frost has also raised questions about future of the Prime Minister.
Express.co.uk is also asking: Should the Prime Minister resign after Lord Frost’s Brexit hammer blow?
Mr Johnson had already been under mounting pressure following a revolt from Tory MPs over the tightening of Covid rules.
Defeat in the North Shropshire by-election on Thursday, which saw the Lib Dems overturn a 22,940 majority, compounded the misery on the Prime Minister.
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Following the humiliating result, veteran Tory MP Sir Roger Gale said it was “last orders time” for Mr Johnson and declared “one more strike and he’s out”.
On Friday, Mr Johnson batted away questions about his future and insisted he is “focusing on is getting the job done”.
Brexiteer Tory MP Andrew Bridgen has since described the resignation of Lord Frost as a “watershed moment” and warned Mr Johnson’s days could be numbered.
He said: “We are notoriously ruthless in the Conservative Party. If our leader is seen as a liability, not a political asset, then they generally have to go because the only alternative really to a Conservative government is a Labour government.”
Brexiteer and former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib described Lord Frost’s departure as a “seismic resignation”.
He added: “The person who really needs to leave office is the Prime Minister himself.”
Tory MPs can move to oust the Prime Minister by handing in a letter of no confidence to the chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady.
A total of 55 letters would need to be submitted for a vote to take place on Mr Johnson’s future.
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