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Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to take over Brexit brief after Lord Frost’s resignation

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will take on Lord Frost’s Brexit responsibilities following his resignation, Downing Street has said.

Ms Truss, 46, will become “lead negotiator with the EU on the Northern Ireland Protocol”, Number 10 said in a statement.

She will have “ministerial responsibility for the UK’s relationship with the European Union with immediate effect”.

The former international trade secretary, who replaced Dominic Raab in the Foreign Office in September, will also lead talks to “resolve the problems arising from the current operation of the Northern Ireland Protocol”.

Ms Truss tweeted that she was “pleased” to be taking over.

The protocol, which has caused considerable friction, is designed to avoid the introduction of a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Responding to Ms Truss’ appointment, Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission’s vice president, said: “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.”

In his resignation letter to Boris Johnson, Lord Frost appeared to take aim at the PM over his move to Plan B coronavirus restrictions, following a previous pledge to make lockdown easing “cautious but irreversible“.

He added that we need to “learn to live with COVID”, telling the prime minister: “You took a brave decision in July, against considerable opposition, to open up the country again.

“Sadly it did not prove to be irreversible, as I wished, and believe you did too. I hope we can get back on track soon and not be tempted by the kind of coercive measures we have seen elsewhere.”

Downing Street also announced that Chris Heaton-Harris will move from the Department for Transport.

He will become minister of state for Europe and will deputise for Ms Truss “as necessary on EU exit and the protocol”.

Lord Frost’s resignation is seen as a severe blow for Boris Johnson, following a week in which almost 100 Conservative MPs voted against vaccine passports and the Tories lost the North Shropshire by-election.

Sky’s senior Ireland correspondent, David Blevins, said Lord Frost’s departure “couldn’t come at a more sensitive moment as negotiations on the Northern Ireland Protocol near their culmination”.

Northern Ireland’s former first minister, Arlene Foster, described Lord Frost’s resignation as “enormous”.

Labour’s shadow Brexit minister, Jenny Chapman, tweeted: “As if we didn’t already know, Lord Frost resigning shows the government’s in chaos.

“The country needs leadership not a lame duck PM whose MPs and cabinet have lost faith in him.”



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