The departure of Lord Frost from Boris Johnson’s Cabinet has been described as a “watershed moment” for the PM as his backbenchers spoke openly about needing a new direction for his party and government. Lord Frost’s resignation could hardly have come at a worse time for Mr Johnson, who has faced potentially the most damaging week in his premiership.
Mr Johnson’s long-term ally had originally agreed to stay on until January, with The Sunday Times reporting that Mr Johnson had told his top EU negotiator that the government could not cope with a high-profile departure when he first handed his resignation in earlier this month. But in an exchange of letters on Saturday night, Lord Frost said that because the news had been made public, he would now stand down with immediate effect.
Brexiteer Tory MP Andrew Bridgen told Times Radio that “quite honestly it’s a devastating blow for the government and for the Prime Minister”.
He added: “He’s (Lord Frost) complained that he’s not happy about the direction of policy of the government and clearly that’s shared by a number of backbenchers, hence the revolt we had this week, and it also it echoes what was heard on the doorsteps of many former Conservative voters in North Shropshire this week as well.”
He said: “The answer, for Boris Johnson, is to change or go.
“We are going to have to change policy and get back to Conservative policies, (for) which we were voted in, with a huge majority on the mandate.
“And the Prime Minister needs to think very carefully whether he can change, whether he wants to change, and I think quite honestly Conservative MPs will be considering the same matters as well over this Christmas holiday.”
Mr Bridgen said: “I think the resignation of Lord Frost, for many, will be a watershed moment quite honestly.”
And he added: “It feels to me as if the old Boris Johnson that we knew and loved some years ago has been hijacked.”
Lord Frost was a true Brexiteer, this was the mandate that won Boris a huge majority, but sadly, Boris does not stand for anything, but himself. He was initially a Remainer who saw the Brexit vote as an opportunity to enter the limelight, not realising that the British public would indeed vote to leave. This left him a real dilemma, as he had to proceed with being elected with the mandate of getting Brexit done, which he did, albeit by taking the path of least resistance, but since then, he has muddled through crisis after crisis, as though he has been drowning and coming up for air whenever he could.
By appointing Liz Truss, Boris now faces a new dilemma, if she takes a firm hand with the EU, which is what the British public would like to see, she will get the credit, not Boris, leaving him even further out in the wilderness, but if she fails, this will only weaken his position further. This is the result of Boris shying away from taking a firm and strong position with the EU over the last couple of years. After all, this institution has shown its true colours, to the point where most Remainers are now conspicuous by their absence.