Andrew Adonis criticises Johnson and says 'Brexit isn't working'
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Boris Johnson has been rocked by the departure of his Brexit minister, who announced his imminent intention to step down from his key role at a key time in negotiations with the European Union. Lord Frost had been at the forefront of leading the UK’s future relationship with the European Union and had been locked in a battle with Brussels over the Northern Ireland Protocol. He had previously agreed with the Prime Minister he would leave his job in January but has now departed citing “the current direction of travel” of the Government, as well as fears over “coercive” Covid measures and the wish for the UK to become a “lightly regulated, low-tax” economy.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will now take over responsibility of the UK’s future relationship across all aspects.
But arch-Remainer and Lord Adonis has suggested Brexit is “devouring its instigators and its children” as of the 24 members of David Cameron’s Tory Cabinet from five years ago, only three still remain.
He wrote in Prospect Magazine: “Brexit is steadily devouring its instigators and its children.
“Of the 24 members of David Cameron’s Tory cabinet of just five years ago, only three are still in office and only one—Liz Truss, who ironically has been passed Frost’s poisoned chalice—has been in office continuously since May 2016.
“Frost is the 47th ministerial resignation related to Brexit. So there are two compelling questions.
“Are we yet at peak revolution and starting the reactionary phase? And has Caesar been slain or only wounded?
“The two are obviously related, particularly after last week’s North Shropshire by-election, which saw a 34 per cent swing to the Lib Dems and made a lot of Tory MPs contemplate their own mortality.”
The Labour peer also claimed the UK appears to be on the “Boris-Brexit plateau” as an “intensification of the Brexit battles simply isn’t viable anymore”.
He said: “Before his walkout, Frost had already been forced to retreat from his threat to use Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol to suspend the whole Brexit deal with the EU.
“It is also hard to see how Boris ever returns to post-vaccine levels of popularity, which during the summer and autumn gave him a political position akin to Thatcher after the Falklands and Blair before Iraq.
“He totally failed to capitalise on it because he has no credible ideas for national renewal, or even any interest in it beyond the empty slogans of “levelling up” and “build back better.”
However, Lord Adonis claimed despite the difficulties, it is unlikely Mr Johnson will be ousted as Prime Minister due to his “ability to rebound”, and because some Tories that don’t want Chancellor Rishi Sunak or Ms Truss to take over from him.
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He concluded: “It is a huge and usually long-drawn-out process to remove a prime minister outside of an election defeat.
“Just because that has happened twice in the last five or so years—both amid deep Brexit crises—doesn’t mean it is bound to happen this time.
“Boris’s extraordinary ruthlessness, egocentricity and ability to rebound – which I document in my profile of the “the Prime Etonian” – probably haven’t deserted him yet.
“The Frostite Tory right, who are currently doing most of the gunning for him, absolutely don’t want high-tax Sunak or crypto-Remainer Truss as his successor.”
In a letter sent to the Prime Minister last Saturday, Lord Frost said he had decided to step down “with immediate effect” after news of his decision to leave in January became public.
He wrote: “I have led our EU exit process for the two and a half years since you became Prime Minister.
“In those years we have restored the UK’s freedom and independence as a country and begun the process of building a new relationship with the EU. That will be a long term task.
“That is why we agreed earlier this month that I would move on in January and hand over the baton to others to manage our future relationship with the EU.
“It is disappointing that this plan has become public this evening and in the circumstances, I think it is right for me to write to step down with immediate effect.”
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