David frost

David Frost’s solution to cool UK-EU relations

Since David Frost quit the government in December over its political direction, he has not said that much about the future of UK-EU affairs. But in the Churchill lecture at the University of Zurich tonight, he sets out a potential new basis for relations. His tone is warm and marks a deliberate attempt to move on from the scratchy relations of the last few years: he argues that there is a ‘need to recognise that the EU is a natural ally of the United Kingdom, and that we should seek – as sovereign equals – ways to cooperate and work together more.’ Frost’s speech is a sign of a reminder that there is

Is this the real reason Lord Frost resigned?

In his resignation letter, the Brexit minister Lord Frost justified his decision to quit by pointing to tax rises and Covid restrictions. But there is another potential reason given the timing. Late last week, the UK conceded that the European Court of Justice could have the final say over the Brexit settlement in Northern Ireland. Frost is a negotiator. It might be that he didn’t want to undermine his successor by over-emphasising the scale of the British retreat. Or it could be that he is holding back dissatisfaction with the negotiations for a second broadside at the Prime Minister. But it is a critical development. ECJ oversight was always a

Ripping up the Northern Ireland protocol is diplomacy in action

Lord Frost’s Lisbon speech represents the most cogent argument yet for replacing the Northern Ireland protocol. So naturally it has been buried under a slurry of snark, solemn head-shaking and breathless indignation. It is worth stepping back from the noise. Switch off the shouty man on LBC, mute the ‘this is not normal’ people on Twitter, and avoid at all costs the catastrophist-analysis of the academic-activists. You will miss nothing. In fact, read Frost’s speech for yourself. It was meant to send a message about the protocol and it does so directly. The Irish are our neighbours. It is in both our countries’ interests that we maintain and enhance the ties

David Frost’s protocol diplomacy

As a general rule in post-Brexit politics, when David Frost makes a public intervention on the Northern Ireland protocol, it tends to dampen rather than soothe UK-EU relations. Frost, charged with improving the protocol, is a divisive figure in Brussels who is seen to catch flies with vinegar rather than honey. His speech was expected to be an escalation in the current war of words between the two sides. In the end, the talk itself was slightly less confrontational than expected. Frost effectively declared the Northern Ireland protocol dead and called on the EU to work with the UK Frost effectively declared the Northern Ireland protocol dead and called on the EU to

Will David Frost’s robust approach to the EU work?

Boris Johnson took the opportunity at PMQs to admonish the EU’s claim that the UK had brought in a vaccine export ban. The Prime Minister said of European Council president Charles Michel’s claim that ‘we have not blocked the export of a single Covid-19 vaccine, or vaccine components’. It comes after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab wrote to Michel to ‘set the record straight’ over the remarks. The comments have been welcomed by Tory MPs, and are viewed as part of a wider shift in the UK government’s approach to the EU. This means a more robust take on relations with Brussels. The biggest aspect of this is David Frost’s appointment to the Cabinet as the minister

What’s behind David Frost’s promotion?

The news that David Frost is to be a Minister of State in the Cabinet Office and full member of cabinet has set the cat among the pigeons in Westminster this evening. The UK’s lead Brexit negotiator had previously been lined up to be national security adviser. However, it was eventually decided that he did not have the right experience to take on the role and he was instead appointed as Johnson’s representative on Brexit and International Policy. That Frost is to join the cabinet is a significant promotion — and it’s a promotion that is already causing ripples across government with various briefings doing the rounds on reported unrest in Downing Street.

James Forsyth

David Frost will need to learn to work with the EU

Boris Johnson has made his Brexit negotiator David Frost a full member of the Cabinet and the UK chair of both the partnership council, which manages the UK/EU trade deal, and the joint committee, which handles the Northern Ireland protocol. Frost’s appointment is a recognition that someone is needed at the heart of government to handle the EU relationship – that it can’t be treated as simply a Foreign Office matter, and that it needs to be a full-time job (Michael Gove had previously been the UK chair of these committees). The challenge for Frost will be to get out of the negotiations mindset. The withdrawal negotiations and the trade

Brexit talks go down to the wire

After the past few years, it is hard to take Brexit deadlines seriously; they have a tendency to always slide to the right. But Sunday night/Monday morning really is the final deadline, as I say in the Times this morning. There are two reasons for this. First, the Internal Market Bill and the Finance Bill are in the Commons on Monday and Tuesday respectively. Both of these bills override parts of the withdrawal agreement, and in particular the Northern Ireland protocol. The EU would fiercely object, complaining the UK was breaking its obligations under international law and pointing to how the government had itself admitted it was a ‘specific and

Is a no-deal Brexit underpriced?

As the Brexit talks enter what is expected to be the last full week of substantive negotiations, opposition leaders are blasting the government for the lack of progress while No. 10 has issued a warning that no deal is ‘arguably underpriced’. So, is this more fighting talk for the purpose of the negotiations or is no deal now a likely prospect? Given that Boris Johnson agreed a deal at the last minute in the first stage of Brexit talks on the withdrawal agreement, the working assumption among many Tory MPs for some time has been that the same will occur this time around. Some of Johnson’s colleagues even point to the recent departure of Vote

Enjoyably bad-tempered: The Lock In with Jeremy Paxman reviewed

‘I used to be Mr Nasty! That was good! Mr Nasty was easy!’ Jeremy Paxman bellows at Michael Palin on his new podcast. Now Paxman wants to know: ‘Have you got any recommendations as to how you become the nicest man in Britain?’ ‘I’m a very angry, cross person half the time!’ Michael Palin protests, pleasantly. The Lock In with Jeremy Paxman is Paxman’s attempt at a more convivial register — ‘just interesting people, over a pint, with me’ — in contrast to the tone he deployed famously on Newsnight for 25 years: that of the professional curmudgeon. Luckily Paxman is still a hopeless grouch and cannot easily sustain common

Full text: UK and EU Brexit negotiators debate over Twitter

Below is the full text of UK Brexit negotiator David Frost’s twitter thread in response to his EU counterpart Michel Barnier: ‘I would like to make a few comments and state a few facts, in my capacity as the PM’s negotiator in the current and last autumn’s talks. On the Protocol, we indeed negotiated a careful balance in order to preserve peace and the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement. It is precisely to ensure this balance can be preserved in all circumstances that the government needs powers in reserve to avoid it being disrupted. On third country listings: the EU knows perfectly well all the details of our food standards rules because we

The UK will not request an extension to the Brexit transition period

David Frost, the Prime Minister’s chief Brexit negotiator, has held discussions with the First Secretary of State Dominic Raab and other senior ministers in the last few days. As I say in tomorrow’s Spectator, the conclusion of these discussions has been that the UK will not request an extension to the transition period. Interestingly, I understand that no one in these discussions backed asking for an extension. The thinking is that a delay would not solve the fundamental policy problems and that a deal is either possible or not. Another factor, I understand, is that the government worries about the cost of any extension. There is concern that extending could