Boris’s days as PM are numbered says Eastwood while resigning Brexit Minister claims Johnson believes ‘we must learn to live with Covid’

By william allen
Sunday, 19th December 2021, 2:29 pm
Foyle MP Colum Eastwood (left) has criticised Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Foyle MP Colum Eastwood (left) has criticised Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Commenting on the resignation of the British Government’s Brexit Minister David Frost, Social Democratic and Labour Party Leader Colum Eastwood MP said:

“It is telling that in his resignation letter, David Frost failed to make even a cursory mention of Northern Ireland. The truth is that his approach to the negotiations over the operation of the protocol were aggressively influenced by narrow ideology, almost always at odds with the needs and wishes of people and businesses on this island.

“The negotiations over the protocol cannot become a victim to the chaos at the heart of government in London. Frost’s resignation is an opportunity to reset the approach to the dialogue with the European Commission, to refresh the relationship with the EU and to return to the solutions that are presented to these challenges in the Good Friday Agreement.

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“My clear view is that Boris Johnson’s days as British Prime Minister are numbered. He has lost control of his parliamentary party, Ministers are beginning to desert his government and his moral authority, if it ever existed, is in tatters.

“The next phase of politics between and across these islands must be marked by a commitment to cooperation in the best interests of the people we represent.”

The resignation letter suggested that Frost feels Boris Johnson, like himself, believes “we must learn to live with Covid”, and that Brexit offers potential to move quickly to “a lightly regulated, low tax, entrepreneurial economy, at the cutting edge of modern science and economic change”.

This is Lord Frost’s resignation letter in full.

Dear Boris,

I have led our EU exit process for the two and 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.

It has been a huge honour and privilege to work with you over the last five years, first in the Foreign Office and then in No.10. You have been an outstanding leader at a moment of grave constitutional crisis for this country. Many said that it would be impossible to deliver what we did: an end to political turbulence by implementing the referendum result, a stunning election victory, an exit from the EU which gave us full freedom about our future choices as a country, and finally putting in place the world’s broadest and indeed only zero-tariff free trade deal. You and I have always shared the same approach on Brexit and I do not think we would have achieved so much without that close common understanding of our aims.

Brexit is now secure. The challenge for the government now is to deliver on the opportunities it gives us. You know my concerns about the current direction of travel. I hope we will move as fast as possible to where we need to get to: a lightly regulated, low tax, entrepreneurial economy, at the cutting edge of modern science and economic change. Three hundred years of history show that countries which take that route grow and prosper, and I am confident we will too.

We also need to learn to live with Covid and I know that is your instinct too. You took a brave decision in July, against considerable opposition, to open up the country again.

Sadly it did not prove to be irreversible, as I wished, and believe you did too. I hope we can get back on track soon and not be tempted by the kind of coercive measures we have seen elsewhere.

Together we have put this country onto a new path. I am confident that under your leadership this newly free Britain can succeed and prosper hugely. I wish you and the Government every success in that.