Brexit minister Lord Frost resigns from Cabinet
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Boris Johnson suffered another setback on Saturday as Lord David Frost stepped down from his role as Brexit minister, citing “concerns about the current direction of travel” of the UK Government. The Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss has been chosen to succeed Lord Frost and with Brexit negotiations still in the balance, she now has an opportunity to push them over the line. Here, Express.co.uk explains two routes she could go down to make a significant impact in the role.
Lord Frost publicly announced his departure as Brexit minister, with immediate effect, on Saturday.
Originally, it was planned for the peer to step aside in January, but those plans were shelved after the news became public knowledge.
Taking his place will be Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, who only took on her current position during the last cabinet reshuffle in September.
As Brexit negotiations continue to rumble on, it will now be Ms Truss’ responsibility to oversee talks. So, here are two key ways she could make a major impact in the role.
Secure a deal on Northern Ireland
Since officially leaving the EU last December, one of the key points of contention between UK-EU discussions has been the Northern Ireland protocol.
When the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016, it began the process of negotiating terms on a treaty between the UK and EU, which would become known as the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
One of the protocols agreed as part of this treaty was the Protocol on Ireland or Northern Ireland – commonly referred to as the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Terms were finalised in December last year and the protocol governs the unique customs and immigration at the Irish border between what is now technically the UK and EU (Republic of Ireland).
However, since the protocol has come into effect, businesses have complained of the additional paperwork and border checks that must now be carried out before items can be exported to Northern Ireland.
Consequently, the UK and EU have been in talks to reach a new agreement that streamlines this process and which stands to benefit their respective interests.
The latest update on discussions has seen a breakthrough in the transportation of medicines from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
Indeed, Ms Truss now has an opportunity to finish off the negotiations that Lord Frost had led on for nearly two years.
If she can reach a compromise that appeases the EU but which improves the current ruling for the UK, it could be seen as a significant milestone in talks.
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Resolve the UK-France channel dispute
Currently, the UK and France remain embroiled in a dispute over the number of fishing licences that have been awarded to French fishermen.
France alleges the UK has not handed out enough licences to its fishermen.
However, the UK Government says only those lacking the correct documentation have yet to be signed off and the majority of licences have been awarded.
Recently, the European Commission set a deadline of December 10 for the row to be resolved – something which the UK refused to recognise.
Nonetheless, the argument is still ongoing and last week the French Government asked the EU to begin legal action against the UK to obtain licences it claimed they were “entitled” to.
Should Ms Truss help to resolve the issue, it again would tick off a major hurdle which has so far proved a sticking point in post-Brexit discussions.
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