Lord Frost is grilled on possibility he’d run for Prime Minister
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The UK’s former Brexit negotiator suggested the debate surrounding Britain’s departure from the European Union had not yet been put to bed. Lord Frost, who resigned from Boris Johnson’s Government in December in protest against the Prime Minister’s coronavirus strategy and tax plan, previously claimed the UK’s membership of the single market was economically beneficial to Britain.
However, during his stint in Government, Lord Frost became one of Mr Johnson’s most hardline Eurosceptics, particularly on taking advantage of Brexit and challenging the EU’s interpretation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
He said the decision to sever ties with the Brussels bloc after being a member for 47-years had “seemingly ended with near-total victory for the advocates of a real Brexit” after “Britain shook itself free of the European Union and became a full democracy once again”.
But the ex-CEO of the Scotch Whiskey Association also said ardent Europhiles had continued to campaign against the vote taken by British voters back in 2016.
Lord Frost claimed in The Telegraph: “On the fringes of politics the unreconciled Remainers are regrouping.
“The #brexitshambles hashtag is seen once again on Twitter.
“Andrew Adonis’s European Movement says that ‘Brexit has failed. We were lied to. It’s time to rethink’.
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“Nick Macpherson, the former permanent secretary at the Treasury, says ‘the effect on growth from Brexit is tangible’.
“Lord Barwell, the former Downing Street chief of staff, is even trying to rehabilitate his and Theresa May’s terrible backstop deal from 2019.”
Turning his attention towards Labour’s pro-Remain leader, the former ambassador to Denmark added: “Sir Keir Starmer can see that getting too close to any of these people will make him about as welcome in the Red Wall as Vladimir Putin in downtown Kyiv.
“Nevertheless he can’t ignore his supporters and therefore has to say that ‘a poorly thought-through Brexit is holding Britain back’.”
He added: “Of course there is little chance of a serious ‘rejoin’ campaign developing in the short term.
“Remainer Jacobitism in support of Ursula von der Leyen as the queen over the water is just too unpopular.
“The leaders of the pro-EU cause recognise that themselves.
“Instead, their aim is to keep us aligned with the EU, often using the Northern Ireland Protocol as a weapon.
“They know that if the UK doesn’t diverge much from EU law, it will be much easier to take us back in later if events work in their favour.”
However, Lord Frost warned Remainers had also distorted a picture of the UK which showed Brits “living with Covid successfully, leading on Ukraine, coming out of the economic downturn faster than Germany, and with PMI business confidence levels higher than the eurozone or the US”.
He instead warned the FBPE crowd had blamed everything, from HGV shortages last autumn to recent delays in Dover, on the UK’s departure from the EU.
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In response to these claims, Lord Frost said: “It is almost impossible to draw any firm conclusions from the trade figures amid the noise of recovery from the pandemic, trade re-routing, and methodological change.”
However, he also suggested the UK needed to pull more levers to offset some of the effects of leaving the single market and customs union.
The Government recently appointed ex-ERG chairman Jacob Rees-Mogg as the Minister of State for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency.
The position could see the UK take more advantage of its departure from the European Union.
Rishi Sunak unveiled yet another benefit of Brexit when he championed the VAT exemption on heat pumps and solar panels in his spring statement.
However, the Chancellor is also said to be planning to ignite a bonfire on EU red tape in a move which could free up as much as £95billion in cash.
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