Lord Frost: what did he say about Penny Mordaunt and Brexit?

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Conservative leadership candidate Penny Mordaunt has come under fire from Lord Frost for her handling of Brexit negotiations.

Ms Mordaunt was recently thrust into the spotlight in the prime ministerial race after performing better than expected in the first two Tory leadership elections.

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She finished second in both rounds – behind former Chancellor Rishi Sunak – beating Foreign Minister Liz Truss, former Leveling Up Minister Kemi Badenoch and Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Tom Tugendhat.

This has prompted attacks from Tory MPs on the party’s right, most of whom support Ms Mordaunt’s rival Ms Truss.

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Former Brexit Secretary Lord Frost – who has announced his support for the Foreign Secretary – has launched the most scathing.

But who is Lord Frost and what exactly did he say about Mrs. Mordaunt?

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Who is Lord Frost?

David Frost is a former diplomat, civil servant and politician.

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During the 2019 Brexit negotiations, he was appointed by Boris Johnson as the UK’s chief negotiator for leaving the European Union.

Lord Frost helped bring about the revised Brexit Withdrawal Agreement before leading the UK’s negotiations with the EU on a free trade agreement during the Brexit transition period.

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On 31 January 2020 Lord Frost was appointed Chief Negotiator for Task Force Europe.

He was replaced by Mrs. Truss a year later.

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Lord Frost was introduced as a peer to the House of Lords on 8 September 2020 and later appointed Britain’s representative for Brexit and international politics.

Lord Frost has been appointed Brexit Secretary by Boris Johnson

In March 2021 he was appointed Minister of State in the Cabinet Office and given responsibility for both the national and international consequences of Brexit.

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He resigned on December 18, 2021, stating he had “concerns about the current direction of travel” from the government.

What did he say about Penny Mordaunt?

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In an interview with TalkTV, Lord Frost claimed he had “serious reservations” about Mrs Mordaunt becoming Prime Minister.

He criticized her ability to lead the exit talks with the EU: “I felt that she did not master the detail that was necessary in the negotiations last year. It would not always deliver tough messages to the EU when needed.”

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The Brexit hardliner continued: “She wasn’t entirely responsible, she wasn’t always visible. Sometimes I didn’t even know where she was.”

Lord Frost then claimed he asked then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson to remove Ms Mordaunt from the team and find someone else to back him.

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Ms Mordaunt acted as Lord Frost’s deputy in the Brexit negotiations with the EU.

Lord Frost went so far as to say that he would not be fit to serve in a ministerial role under Mrs Mordaunt.

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He said: “The party has made wrong decisions in recent years and I want to make sure we make the right ones this time, so I had to get my views straight.”

How did other MPs react?

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Simon Hoare, to the left of the Conservatives, repelled Lord Frost today (15 July).

The MP for North Dorset said: “Who the hell is an unelected, failed minister to tell an MP what to do?

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“For some unknown reason, David Frost keeps thinking we don’t give a shit what he thinks. We don’t and we won’t.”

Simon Clarke, who has announced his support for Mrs Truss as Britain’s next prime minister, shared a clip from the interview with Lord Frost on Twitter.

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He wrote: “Lord Frost’s warning is truly serious. @Conservatives – and more importantly our country – need a leader who is tested and ready.”

What was Penny Mordaunt’s involvement in Brexit?

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Ms Mordaunt voted to leave the European Union.

She was one of the leading voices in the Leave campaign during the Brexit referendum and was appointed Lord Frost’s deputy in Britain’s negotiations with the EU.

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She has since continued to praise Britain’s exit from the EU, writing in an article for The Telegraph that “the benefits are enormous”.

However, she came under fire during the Brexit campaigns when she falsely claimed Britain would have no say in whether Turkey could join the EU.

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In a recent interview with LBC, Ms Mordaunt backed her remarks, commenting: “I actually stand by that. Well, the short answer is: the British public had no say. The long answer is: it was government policy.”

She continued, “There is a veto provision, but we could not have used it.”

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