Lord Frost warns Johnson he has until the autumn to save his premiership

The former Brexit minister said the PM needs to deliver a ‘Conservative plan’ for the future or face being ousted by his own MPs.

09 June 2022

Boris Johnson has until the autumn to set out a clear Conservative vision for the future or face being ousted by his own MPs, his former Brexit minister, Lord Frost, has warned.

Despite having survived a bruising vote of confidence on Monday, Lord Frost said the Prime Minister could not afford to ignore the “depth of opposition” he faces within his own party.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, he said the biggest problem now facing the Government was not the issue of lockdown parties in Downing Street, but that voters did not understand what it was trying to do.

“Every prime minister has weaknesses and blind spots. The issue is whether they are able to compensate for them, by having the right people, by taking good advice, and by setting a clear policy direction with broad support,” he said.

“Mr Johnson probably has between now and the party conference to show he can do that.

His warning came after Mr Johnson tried to set his premiership back on track with a keynote speech in which he reaffirmed his commitment to cut taxes and set out plans to extend the right-to-buy.

Lord Frost, who was once one of Mr Johnson’s closest advisers but is now among his most trenchant critics, said the Government needed a clear “Conservative plan” based on “freedom and individual liberty not collectivism”.

Boris Johnson during his keynote speech in Blackpool
Boris Johnson sought to get his premiership back on track with a keynote speech in Blackpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

Instead, however, he said it looked like the Government was constantly at risk of being overwhelmed by a series of crises it was having to deal with.

“Like the cockpit of a crashing airliner, the dashboard lights are all flashing red. The Government has to decide which problems must be dealt with now and which can be left until later,” he said.

He said the ministers should focus on reversing tax increases, “credibly” committing to future cuts, slashing VAT on energy bills and opening up fracking.

He also called on Mr Johnson to carry out a Cabinet reshuffle with the appointment of a “serious deputy” who could “design and deliver the strategy”.
“This is ambitious. I can see why many people think the Prime Minister can’t deliver it. He doesn’t like upsetting people. But any serious plan means making choices,” he said.

“Many of us still want him to succeed and will support him if he shows a sense of purpose. But he has to show things will be different now.”

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