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Frost resigns – citing “concerns about the current direction of travel” on Covid and tax

“Boris Johnson has been dealt a severe blow following the sensational resignation of Cabinet Minister Lord Frost, which has sparked discussions among Conservative MPs about the Government’s direction over Covid, taxes and green policies.   Lord Frost, who negotiated Britain’s departure from the EU as Brexit Minister, is understood to have handed his resignation to the Prime Minister a week ago, but was persuaded by Mr Johnson to stay in his post until January. Following the The Mail on Sunday’s exclusive, Lord Frost has brought forward his departure from next month and instead agreed to ‘step down with immediate effect’, sending a hurried letter of resignation to the Prime Minister outlining his ‘concerns about the current direction of travel’.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Frost’s resignation letter – Gov.UK
  • Johnson’s reply – Gov.UK
  • Twitter frenzy – Observer
  • Rees-Mogg and Spencer may go in small New Year shuffle, and Rosenfield could be on the way out – Mail on Sunday
  • Duncan Smith lined up for top job in Number Ten reset – Sunday Times
  • De Costa says Rosenfield should go – Sunday Telegraph
  • Villiers says resignatio “very worrying” on Tory WhatsApp Group… – Sky News
  • (…As Dorries is removed from it after defending the Prime Minister – Sunday Express)
  • Frost oozed Red White and Blue – Sunday Times
  • Life and times of The Great Frost – Mail on Sunday
  • Did Case admit being present at a party before being appointed to lead an enquiry? – Sunday Times
  • Barwell backs and Bryant questions Sue Gray appointment as Case inquiry replacement – Observer
  • Is there another Allegra Stratton tape? – Mail on Sunday
  • Bradley, Hammond and Nokes “preparing for no confidence vote” – Sun on Sunday
  • Other potential leadership contenders: Hunt (again) and Zahawi – Mail on Sunday
  • 5 Hertford Street: a plotters paradise, featuring Truss, Farage and Cameron (separately) – Mail on Sunday
  • Hoyle warns MPs against undermining his authority – Sunday Express

Mail on Sunday Editorial: Frost is a good Conservative and here’s why he’s resigned

“With his usual sharp perception, Lord Frost has decided that he has had enough of the Government’s increasingly European-style approach to the pandemic. Lord Frost has been among the strongest voices in Cabinet in favour of keeping the country open and for avoiding more legislative controls to deal with the disease. He is believed to have objected in principle to the idea of ‘vaccine passports’. He is also thought to have been disillusioned by the latest resort to regulations. This is all of a piece with his more general disenchantment with the whole policy direction of the Government in recent months – especially on tax rises and the green-driven preoccupation with the target of ‘net zero’ CO2 emissions. This view meshes with his public statements, disagreeing with the European-style high- tax high-spend economic model recently embraced by the Chancellor.” – Editorial

  • We need a new way forward – Danny Kruger and Miriam Cates, Sunday Telegraph
  • Johnson is dogged by Tory rebels without a clue – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times
  • He needs grown-ups in Number Ten, not sycophants – Tony Parsons, Sun on Sunday
  • No rival is ready to grab power – Anne McElvoy, Observer
  • Never mind North Shropshire, just look at the economy – Rob Colvile, Sunday Times
  • Sinking Prime Ministers is never easy – Steve Richards, Sunday Times
  • Johnson should govern like a Conservative – George Trefgarne, Sunday Telegraph
  • Life with my former boss, Truss – Kirsty Buchanan, Sunday Times
  • Get ready for Sunak v Truss – Isabel Oakeshott, Sun on Sunday
  • What do the Conservatives stand for? – Sunday Telegraph Editorial

> Today: ToryDiary – Et tu, Frostie?

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – A retreat on the Northern Irish Protocol shows Johnson’s flight reflex in action

Will Johnson hold off more restictions before Christmas but go for a circuit-breaker afterwards?

“Brits could be banned from mixing indoors under plans being drawn up for a two-week lockdown after Christmas, it has been reported. Boris Johnson is believed to have briefed his cabinet today on potential battle plans for tackling omicron. The idea of imminent restrictions is “being played down somewhat”, although officials are “concerned about the data”, Sky News reports. The PM is also expected to hold an emergency Covid Cobra meeting this weekend as officials consider proposals for the circuit-breaker. However, this is yet to be to be confirmed. It comes after the PM last night vowed he would not shut the country down amid claims plans have been drawn up for the lockdown after the festive period. He told the nation: “We are not closing things down.” – Sun on Sunday

Phil Hammond: The NHS is meant to protect us, not the other way round

“The NHS does some amazing things but the truth is it has never had the staff nor capacity — and sometimes not the culture — to provide safe, effective and timely care to all its citizens…We still have fewer healthcare professionals and beds per head of the population than most other comparable countries. Before the pandemic, a friend in Munich was complaining about the cost of his health insurance when so many beds lay empty in Germany. He’s not complaining now. We could build extra capacity into the NHS, but as we discovered with Nightingale hospitals, extra beds are wasteful and useless if you don’t have the staff…We spend a fortune on our National Sickness Service trying to rescue people from the river of illness, often unsuccessfully. We need to wander upstream and stop them falling in.” – Sunday Times

Does Starmer believe in a progressive alliance?

“Heading into the contest, Labour had its biggest national poll lead over the Conservatives since 2014, yet came a distant third. Sir Keir Starmer had opted not to visit the seat, and the party fought a low-key and inexpensive campaign. Labour’s formal position is that it does not believe in a progressive alliance: an arrangement in which anti-Conservative parties agree to rally behind the candidate most likely to win and so withdraw candidates and resources in certain seats. Successive leaders have adopted this position because Labour cannot afford to say it can no longer win a majority. Doing so would prompt questions about who it would govern alongside and on what terms, and would amount to an acknowledgment it is no longer a national party.” – Sunday Times