Politics

Tory MPs line up to sympathise with Lord Frost’s reason for quitting Boris Johnson’s Cabinet

BORIS Johnson’s leadership is facing further turmoil after Tory MPs lined up to sympathise with the outgoing Brexit minister who quit his job after being left frustrated with the “current direction of travel” of the Conservative party.

Lord Frost’s decision came with him also raising fears with the PM over what he labelled “coercive” Covid measures and the wish for the UK to become a “lightly regulated, low-tax” economy.

The announcement capped a truly dismal week for the PM who relied on support from Labour to ensure his latest Covid measures were passed in the Commons following a Tory backbench revolt and his party lost the North Shropshire by-election, a seat held for almost 200 years.

The UK Government has now faced weeks of controversy which began with attempts to change the rules after Tory MP Owen Paterson was found to have broken lobbying regulations – with polling now putting Labour comfortably ahead of Mr Johnson’s party.

Tobias Ellwood, who chairs the Commons Defence Select Committee, said many Conservative colleagues shared the desire for there to be “a consistency of where we want to go”.

He told Times Radio: “I think this is what perhaps unites more and more of the wider party, and we’ve seen this since the Owen Paterson debacle, is that it needs to be clarity of our vision, there needs to be a consistency of where we want to go, people need to be included, the decision-making in No 10 needs to be improved.

READ MORE: Brexit minister Lord Frost ‘resigns from Boris Johnson’s Cabinet’

“We need an, almost like, a wartime leader, we need a strong No 10, and the machinery of No 10 around Boris Johnson, that’s what needs to be improved.

“The boosterism, the energy, is not enough in these current circumstances alone.”

Tory MP Peter Bone told Trevor Phillips On Sunday on Sky News: “Boris has led this country exceptionally well … But what comes next? And that’s what I think Lord Frost is talking about.

“I think part of that rebellion of 100 Conservative MPs was partly due to the fact that we want to see the Prime Minister move to a more conservative agenda in future.”

Mr Bone also said he agreed with Lord Frost’s concerns over the prospect of “coercive measures” to control coronavirus.

The MP said: “I’ve cancelled all in-person meetings and the get-together with staff, I cancelled. I won’t be going to crowded places, but leave that up to the individual to make that decision, don’t have the state telling me what I have to do every day, and so in that regard, yes, I’m with Lord Frost on that.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid defended the PM as he told Trevor Phillips: “I think Boris Johnson is the best person to take us through the challenges the country faces.”

READ MORE: Michael Settle: The mind truly boggles as Tories tear up the rule book

He said he also understood the reasons Lord Frost had resigned and called him a “principled” man.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said the resignation showed “a Government in total chaos right when the country faces an uncertain few weeks”, adding that “we deserve better than this buffoonery”.

The SNP’s foreign affairs spokesperson, Alyn Smith said that the decision means Lord Frost “walks away from the Brexit shambles he created”.

He added: “If nothing else, this should serve as a wake-up call to the Tory government and Boris Johnson. On top of lying, his Brexit mess, and being at the centre of every scandal in Westminster in recent times, he has held us all in contempt by having Christmas parties while the rest of us were told to abide by coronavirus restrictions. The Prime Minister should do the right thing and resign.

“The Tories’ hard Brexit – helped along by Lord Frost – has also left everyone in a worse position, especially Scotland and Northern Ireland who didn’t even vote for it. Lord Frost may have resigned but he cannot be allowed to evade accountability while he takes up a cushy seat in the House of Lords.

“The people of Scotland have looked on in horror as we were dragged out of the EU and at the direction the Tory government is taking the UK. Westminster is broken beyond repair and mired in corruption and sleaze. Scotland needs rid of it for good, and that can only be achieved through independence.”

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