Brexit news: Truss to the rescue – Foreign Sec parachuted in for EU ta…
Liz Truss to take on role as chief Brexit negotiator
A Number 10 spokesman said: “Truss will take over ministerial responsibility for the UK’s relationship with the European Union with immediate effect and will rule the current negotiations to resolve the problems arising from the current operation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.” Ms Truss herself tweeted: “Pleased to be taking on responsibility for the EU negotiations and wider relationship with the excellent Chris Heaton-Harris @chhcalling.”
Ms Truss was promoted to her current role in a reshuffle earlier this year, having before grabbed headlines as the International Trade Secretary, a role which involved tying up trade deals for post-Brexit Britain.
The 46-year-old is is popular among the Conservative Party grassroots, in addition as being an avid user of social media who is tipped as a possible future leader of the party.
She backed “keep” at the 2016 referendum on Britain’s EU membership but is now a staunch supporter of Brexit.
Chris Heaton-Harris will move from the Department for Transport to become Europe minister and will deputise for Ms Truss when needed.
Aldridge-Brownhills MP Wendy Morton will move from being Europe and Americas minister to replace Mr Heaton-Harris at the DfT.
Liz Truss is the Foreign Secretary (Image: GETTY)
Lord David Frost resigned on Saturday (Image: GETTY)
Britain formally exited the EU at the beginning of this year but Britain and the EU are nevertheless locked in talks on trading arrangement centred on the Northern Ireland Protocol, the mechanism for preventing a hard border on the island of Ireland, which critics claim has instead resulted in a border down the Irish Sea.
Lord Frost resigned with “immediate effect” on Saturday night, having before agreed with the chief Minister he would leave his job in January.
He cited “the current direction of travel” of the Government, in addition as fears over “coercive” Covid measures and the wish for the UK to become a “lightly regulated, low-tax” economy, with his described as a “watershed moment” in what had been an extremely damaging week for the PM.
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Liz Truss, pictured at the G7 summit in Cornwall earlier this year, is seen as a future Tory leader (Image: PA)
Addressing Lord Frost’s decision, Peter Bone, Tory MP for Wellingborough, told Trevor Phillips On Sunday on Sky News he agreed with Lord Frost’s concerns over the prospect of “coercive measures” to control coronavirus.
Mr Bone said: “I’ve cancelled all in-person meetings and the get-together with staff, I cancelled.
“I won’t be going to crowded places, but leave that up to the individual to make that decision, don’t have the state telling me what I have to do every day, and so in that regard, yes, I’m with Lord Frost on that.”
Referring to last week’s rebellion over plans to introduce vaccine passports, Mr Bone additional: “Boris has led this country exceptionally well – but what comes next? And that’s what I think Lord Frost is talking about.
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chief Minister Boris Johnson (Image: GETTY)
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“I think part of that rebellion of 100 Conservative MPs was partly due to the fact that we want to see the chief Minister move to a more conservative agenda in future.”
Earlier on Sunday, Mairead McGuinness, EU Financial sets Commissioner, said Mr Johnson’s refusal to compromise on Brexit was “untenable” and called on him not to let Conservative Party “machinations” determine his replace Lord Frost.
Ireland’s appointment to the European Commission told RTE Radio she hoped that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and other big issues would help nudge Britain to reciprocate on concessions made by Brussels.
Liz Truss factfile (Image: Express)
Ms McGuinness, who said the Commission was not given any improvement warning of Lord Frost’s resignation, speculated that Frost’s move could have been connected to an easing of British opposition to the role of the European Court of Justice.
She said: “I would hope that the mood will be towards compromise and problem solving, not Conservative Party politics, which I’m afraid takes the eye off the real issues, and will drag out this into next year, which is not good for Northern Ireland.
“If people in London are of the view that there will be no compromise, then there will be no progress and that’s untenable.”
Ms McGuinness called on Mr Johnson to resist pressure to choose a hardliner as Frost’s substitute.
Mairead McGuiness, the EU commissioner (Image: GETTY)
She said: “If the priority is simply to appease hardliners in the Conservative Party, I think we are in a very bad place.”
She said the focus had to be on the issues and that it would be “upsetting” if progress is dependent on the personality of the negotiator. Frost’s substitute should be “fully briefed” and begin by acknowledging the concessions made by Brussels.
“We’re entering 2022. A referendum happened in 2016.
“We must focus on Northern Ireland, not the internal machinations of the Tory Party.”
Liz Truss Profile
By Sam Lister, Deputy Political Editor
Liz Truss is a darling of the Conservative grassroots and regularly tipped as a future party leader.
A free-marketeer, she wants to slash red-tape and give adults the freedom “to make choices that others disapprove of”.
An optimistic, upbeat outlook and love of social media has seen her profile boosted over the last two years.
Ms Truss voted keep but quickly embraced Brexit after the referendum.
After securing a deal with the Australians in her international trade role she was promoted to Foreign Secretary in September.
She grew up in a left-wing household in Leeds, chanting Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, out, out, out” on protest marches.
But she turned to the right in adulthood and hailed Margaret Thatcher as her favourite chief Minister.
Before politics, Ms Truss was deputy director at Reform, a think tank aimed at making public sets better and smarter.
She was also a commercial manager in the energy and telecommunications industry.
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