A key member of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Cabinet resigned Saturday night, adding to the government’s turmoil after this week’s revolt by MPs and voters.
After a publication claimed that Brexit Minister David Frost intended to resign next month, Frost indicated he was stepping down immediately.
Frost said quitting the EU will take time. “That is why we decided earlier this month that I would step down in January and allow others to handle our future relationship with the EU.”
The Mail on Sunday reported previously that he quit over Johnson’s policies. Frost’s decision was sparked by additional pandemic restrictions announced last week, including requiring evidence of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test to access nightclubs and other packed locations.
Frost wrote in his resignation letter that the UK “… You made a gutsy choice in July to reopen the country, despite strong resistance. Sadly, it was not irrevocable as I hoped and I suppose you desired. I hope we can get back on track quickly and avoid coercive methods like we’ve seen elsewhere.”
Johnson’s Conservative Party suffered a surprise loss in a by-election in North Shropshire on Thursday. It was the largest revolt in Prime Minister Johnson’s 2 1/2 years as leader, with 99 Conservative MPs voting against vaccination passports.
The Omicron variety causes an increase in coronavirus infections, according to Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the opposition Labour Party.
“A government in shambles at a time of uncertainty,” Rayner tweeted. “We deserve better.”
Even Johnson’s own party piled on.
“The PM is running out of time and friends to deliver on Conservative commitments and discipline,” tweeted Conservative member Andrew Bridgen. “Lord Frost, 100 Conservative MPs, and most importantly, the people of North Shropshire, made it plain.”
Frost spearheaded discussions with the EU as Johnson’s administration attempted to renegotiate Britain’s exit conditions.
This follows previous UK concessions to the EU on Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trade arrangements. Many were surprised by Britain’s shift in tone, given the harsh stance of Brexit minister “Frosty the No Man.”
The Johnson administration is also being criticized for holding Christmas parties last year despite pandemic restrictions.
Johnson’s nominee to probe the accusations had to stand aside when he was linked to such parties.
After the Guido Fawkes website disclosed Friday that his department had two parties in December 2020, Simon Case stepped away from the probe.
The controversy developed when a video leaked of Johnson’s employees mocking a party that broke pandemic guidelines. Until then, the PM has denied that government staff had disobeyed any lockdown regulations.
The Cabinet Office’s event was posted as a “Christmas party!” on digital calendars, according to The Times of London.
The Cabinet Office stated the event was a virtual quiz in which a few colleagues from the same office took part in their workstations.
“According to the office, the Cabinet Secretary did not participate in the event but strolled past the team’s office. “The event had no outside visitors or staff. The event lasted an hour and attendees purchased beverages and food. Before departing, he talked briefly with office workers.”