Liz Truss to take on role as chief Brexit negotiator
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The Foreign Secretary, who has taken over over responsibility for the UK’s future relationship with the EU following Lord Frost’s resignation, said she was “looking forwad ” to speaking to European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic on Tuesday.
She wrote on Twitter: “Look forward to speaking to @MarosSefcovic tomorrow about the Northern Ireland Protocol.
“I want a comprehensive solution that delivers for the people of Northern Ireland and everyone across our great country.”
Lord Frost resigned with “immediate effect” on Saturday night, having previously agreed with the Prime Minister he would leave his job in January.
In his resignation letter, the former Brexit minister cited “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.
Downing Street said on Sunday that Ms Truss would take over ministerial responsibility for the UK-EU relationship and lead negotiations on the Northern Ireland Protocol following Lord Frost’s departure.
Mr Sefcovic said he hoped to continue negotiations with Ms Truss in the “same constructive spirit”.
He tweeted: “I take note of the appointment of Liz Truss as co-chair of the Joint Committee and Partnership Council.
“My team and I will continue to cooperate with the UK in the same constructive spirit on all important tasks ahead, including the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.”
Ms Truss underwent a transformation from being pro-Remain to an avid Brexiteer following the referendum in 2016.
She consistently polls as the most popular Cabinet minister with Tory members, and has been tipped as a future leadership contender.
Speaking this morning for the first time since his departure, Lord Frost expressed his “huge admiration” for what Mr Johnson has done as a leader in ensuring Brexit.
He told Sky News: “We have never disagreed in any way about Brexit policy.
“Right up to the last day we’ve been absolutely aligned on that, and Liz Truss and Chris Heaton-Harris, I’m sure are going to do a great job.
“I left the Government because, as I think is well known, I couldn’t support certain policies – most recently on Covid restrictions and Plan B.
“And if you’re a minister you have to support collective responsibility, you have to support decisions of the Government, and I couldn’t, so that’s why I had to leave.”
Lord Frost said his resignation was “absolutely not about leadership”, adding: “I’m absolutely confident this country has a great future under Boris Johnson’s leadership if we can get the policies right.”
Asked if Mr Johnson is the right man to carry on as Prime Minister, Lord Frost said: “The departure is about policy differences, and I’m absolutely confident that he’s the right man to take the country forward.”
On whether more ministers will resign if Mr Johnson implements further Covid restrictions, Lord Frost said: “I can’t speak for anybody else, I can only say what I think, which is that I don’t support coercive policies on Covid.
“The Prime Minister has got some very difficult decisions to take and I’m sure he’ll be thinking very hard at them.”
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