This is yet another setback for Boris Johnson. The services of the British Prime Minister announced, Saturday, December 18 in the evening, the resignation of the Secretary of State responsible for Brexit, David Frost. After the revelation of the information, a little earlier, by the newspaper Mail on Sunday, Downing Street published Mr Frost’s letter, and the Head of Government’s response.
Deploring the leak in the press of his decision, David Frost announces his resignation with ” immediate effect “ and discusses his concerns about the « direction » that the government is currently taking.
According to Mail on Sunday, Mr Frost had resigned a week ago, but Boris Johnson had convinced him to stay until January as Secretary of State for Brexit, one of the hottest topics for the UK government . The newspaper writes that David Frost cited the new restrictions to fight the coronavirus, the tax hike and the policy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 as the reason for his departure.
“You know my concerns about the current direction of things”, David Frost wrote to Boris Johnson, stressing that Brexit assured, “The challenge for the government now is to realize the opportunities it gives us”. Boris Johnson said ” sorry “ of David Frost’s resignation, expressing his gratitude for the work he has done.
This announcement is a new blow for Boris Johnson, surrounded by scandals. The prime minister this week suffered a sling from his camp over measures against Covid-19 and the loss of a Conservative stronghold in a by-election in England.
“We deserve better than this buffoonery”
Deputy Leader of the Labor Opposition Angela Rayner reacted on Twitter, saying the “Government is in total chaos precisely when the country is going through weeks of uncertainty”. “@BorisJohnson is not made for the job. We deserve better than this buffoonery ”, she added.
A Government in total chaos right when the country faces an uncertain few weeks.
@BorisJohnson isn’t up to the jo… https://t.co/VX00viTjCU
In the ranks of the majority, MP Andrew Bridgen considered that Boris Johnson was a “Decisive moment”. “He must change or go”, he told Times Radio. On Twitter, this ardent brexiter stressed that the head of government was “Running out of time and friends to keep the promises and discipline of a true Conservative government”.
For the former Northern Irish Prime Minister, Arlene Foster, pushed to leave in April because considered too moderate, the resignation is “Huge for those of us who believed he would keep his promises for Northern Ireland”.
A supporter of a hard line against the European Union, David Frost led, for London, the negotiations with the European Union (EU) on the Brexit agreement and then its implementation, especially concerning the application of the controversial Northern Ireland protocol. The latter establishes a new customs regime for this British province, which de facto maintains it in the single market and the European customs union. The United Kingdom and the EU have been leading bitter talks for several months to resolve their differences on the implementation of this protocol, effective since the beginning of the year.
If David Frost has taken an inflexible position in recent weeks to demand that all recourse to European justice for the settlement of disputes be ruled out, the government recently seemed to soften its position on this subject.
A career diplomat, David Frost worked in Brussels in the 1990s and was Ambassador to Denmark from 2006 to 2008. He also headed the Scotch Whiskey Association (SWA).
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Brexit negotiator David Frost resigns from UK government