Cabinet Minister Lord Frost has resigned from Boris Johnson’s Government, The Mail on Sunday can exclusively reveal.
He resigned over the “political direction” of the government including the introduction of stricter Covid curbs in England.
It comes after a week where the prime minister suffered a by-election defeat with the Conservatives losing the previously safe seat of North Shropshire – which the party had held for nearly two centuries – to the Liberal Democrats.
Lord Frost, who negotiated Britain’s departure from the EU as Brexit Minister, is understood to have handed his resignation to the Prime Minister a week ago, but was persuaded by Mr Johnson to stay in his post until January.
A senior Government source said Lord Frost’s departure had been prompted by the introduction of ‘Plan B’ Covid measures, including vaccine passports.
But that was just the final straw after months of growing discontent over tax rises and the staggering cost of ‘net zero’ environmental policies.
The revelation is the latest blow for the embattled Mr Johnson, following a Commons rebellion of 100 Tory MPs over the ‘Plan B’ measures and the loss of a 23,000 majority in the North Shropshire by-election amid the ‘partygate’ row over celebrations inside No 10.
Conservative MPs are increasingly talking about a challenge to the Prime Minister’s leadership within the next six months, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss leading the field of contenders.
Lord Frost has recently been locked in tense rounds of talks with European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic as the UK and the EU attempt to close gaps in post-Brexit arrangements.
Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said the news represented ‘a Government in total chaos right when the country faces an uncertain few weeks’.
She tweeted: ‘@BorisJohnson isn’t up to the job. We deserve better than this buffoonery.’