Brexit Minister Frost Resigns over Boris Johnson’s Tax Hikes, Lockdown Lunacy

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 09: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes
Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street via Getty Images

Boris Johnson’s future as Prime Minister was thrown into further question late Saturday night after it emerged that Brexit negotiator Lord David Frost has resigned over the government’s leftist policies on taxes, the Build Back Better green agenda, and the push for more coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Questions over Prime Minister Johnson’s leadership have swirled in London in the wake of a disastrous election defeat to the Liberal Democrats in North Shropshire this week, as well as a large scale Tory rebellion against the latest round of COVID restrictions earlier this month in Parliament.

The problems facing Mr Johnson’s administration were amplified on Saturday following a report from the Mail on Sunday, which pre-empted an announcement that Lord Frost had resigned from the government. While his resignation was reportedly intended to officially take place next month, the report brought the move forward to have “immediate effect”.

Lord Frost, who spearheaded the negotiations during the United Kingdom’s separation from the European Union, first publicly criticised the government in November, warning that Johnson’s high tax “European social model” policies would jeopardise the benefits of gaining independence from the EU.

The Minister of State for the Cabinet Office was also reportedly concerned about the Prime Minister’s Build Back Better agenda, under which Johnson has pledged to reduce British carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050 — a project which is expected to run costs in the trillions.

The last straw for Lord Frost was reportedly the push from the PM to introduce Covid passports and more lockdown restrictions. While Johnson had previously professed to have libertarian leanings, he has openly supported the idea of introducing Covid passports in England, and even having a “national conversation” about compulsory vaccination.

In his resignation letter, released by Downing Street, Lord Frost wrote that the country needs to “learn to live with Covid and I know that is your instinct too. You took a brave decision in July, against considerable opposition, to open up the country again.

“Sadly it did not prove to be irreversible, as I wished, and believe you did too. I hope we can get back on track soon and not be tempted by the kind of coercive measures we have seen elsewhere.”

“You know my concerns about the current direction of travel. I hope we will move as fast as possible to where we need to get to: a lightly regulated, low-tax, entrepreneurial economy, at the cutting edge of modern science and economic change,” Frost added.

The former Brexit negotiator did praise Johnson’s efforts to secure Britain’s freedom from the European Union, saying “Brexit is now secure. The challenge for the Government now is to deliver on the opportunities it gives us.”

Responding to resignation the prime minister related his sadness over the move, but thanked Lord Frost for his “unique contribution towards getting Brexit done.”

Frost’s positive take on the government’s Brexit policy is perhaps unsurprising given his role in executing it, but in fact it is far from an unqualified success, with the EU continuing to plunder British fishing waters and having a great deal of control over Northern Ireland, leading to unrest at home and frequent clashes with Continental Europe abroad.

Nevertheless, Frost was hailed by Brexit leader Nigel Farage after news of his resignation broke, writing last night: “Lord Frost is leaving the government because he is a conservative and true Brexiteer. Boris Johnson is neither.”

Further demonstrating the growing dissatisfaction within the Conservative Party with the Prime Minister’s leadership, leaked WhatsApp messages from a group of over 100 Tory MPs revealed that Andrew Bridgen described Frost’s departure as “disastrous” and Theresa Villiers said that it was “very worrying,” Sky News reported.

When Culture Minister Nadine Dorries attempted to defend Johnson, describing him as a “hero” for delivering Brexit, she was removed from the group by Steve Baker MP, who wrote “Enough is Enough”.

It remains to be seen if an actual challenge to Johnson’s leadership is imminent, with it being unlikely that any possible successor would want to take the helm of the government during a potential winter wave of the Omicron variant of the Chinese coronavirus.

While many names have been floated, the current favourites to replace Johnson should he step down are Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss — a former Liberal Democrat who backed Remain during the EU referendum.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.