UK Brexit supremo Frost resigns in blow to Johnson -Mail on Sunday

UK Brexit supremo Frost resigns in blow to Johnson -Mail on Sunday

Britain’s Brexit minister David Frost has resigned due to disillusionment with Boris Johnson’s government, dealing a blow to the embattled prime minister just as the Omicron variant sweeps across the country, the Mail on Sunday newspaper said.

Frost’s resignation, the newspaper said, was triggered by Johnson’s tougher COVID restrictions, including COVID passes, but also a broader discontent with tax rises and the cost of “net-zero” environmental policies.

“Frost has sensationally resigned from Boris Johnson’s government,” the newspaper said.

Downing Street did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Frost has yet to make a public comment on the report.

If confirmed, the departure of the British government’s most senior Brexit negotiator is yet another blow to Johnson, who has faced warnings from some of his own Conservative Party lawmakers that he must improve his leadership or face a challenge.

Johnson, who won a landslide election victory in December 2019, is facing the biggest crisis of his premiership after a litany of scandals and missteps which his opponents say shows he is unfit to be prime minister.

He has faced a barrage of criticism since a video emerged showing his staff laughing and joking about a Downing Street party during a 2020 Christmas lockdown when such festivities were banned.

Downing Street had denied a party took place. Britain’s top civil servant, Simon Case, has stepped down from leading the investigation into alleged parties after it was disclosed that an event had been held in his own office. 

“Lord Frost tendered his resignation a week ago – but was persuaded to stay until January,” the Mail said on Twitter.

Frost, a former diplomat who was repeatedly hailed by Johnson as “the greatest Frost since the Great Frost of 1709,” was a committed Brexit supporter who negotiated Johnson’s revised EU divorce deal and a trade agreement.

He was, until his resignation, leading an attempt by London to renegotiate parts of the divorce deal concerning Northern Ireland.

Beyond Brexit, though, Frost was unhappy.

In a speech last month, Frost expressed his clear discontent with the current course of post-Brexit British policy.

“We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the European Union from Britain with Brexit, only to import that European model after all this time,” Frost said in a Nov. 22 speech at the Margaret Thatcher Conference on Trade.

He disagreed with “those who think we can treat the private sector as just a convenient way of keeping the public sector running.”

“It isn’t just a source of taxes,” Frost said. “We can’t carry on as we were before, and if after Brexit all we do is import the European social model we will not succeed.”

After talks with the EU, Frost said on Friday that negotiations were not close to solving problems that the Northern Irish protocol he negotiated had created.

“It is disappointing that it has not been possible to reach either a comprehensive or worthwhile interim agreement this year,” Frost said. “A solution needs to be found urgently early next year.”

Source: Reuters

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