Lord Frost says Tories must talk up benefits of Brexit or lose the next election
Lord Frost ranks his performance on delivering Brexit
Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator has warned that the Conservatives must defend the decision to leave the EU or face punishment at the ballot box.
Lord Frost, a former special adviser to Boris Johnson, has set out a path for the Conservatives to hold onto power in the election expected next year.
The Conservative peer wants the party to go into the election offering the same “spirit of change” that excited voters in the run-up to the 2016 Brexit referendum.
He warns that if voters are convinced that “Brexit is failing” then they will turn away from the Tories.
The peer also argues that a “rethink” is needed about how the UK will hit its target of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, saying it is time to “get serious”.
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He cautions against forcing expensive lifestyle changes on voters or requiring them to start using green technologies that are not yet ready.
Lord Frost’s intervention comes as the Conservatives have been behind Labour in the polls since the end of 2021 and there is evidence that many voters doubt whether the country made the right choice to quit the EU.
The most recent polling by Omnisis shows 62 percent of people think that “in hindsight” it was wrong to leave the EU. Thirty-eight percent of people said if the election was tomorrow they would back Labour with just one in five supporting the Conservatives.
Rishi Sunak’s party was this month shaken by the loss of two once-safe seats to Labour and the Liberal Democrats in by-elections. Lord Frost argues that “60,000 of our voters went walkabout” because the party is not offering “that real conservative agenda” that will galvanise the grassroots.
In remarks prepared for a gathering of Conservatives from across the northeast of England in Newcastle on Saturday, Lord Frost said the party needs to “talk about Brexit more” and defend the nation’s historic decision to cut the cord with Brussels.
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He warned: “Voters rightly see leaving the EU as a Conservative party project. If we don’t talk up the successes and the future prospects, no one else will.
“If voters come to believe that ‘Brexit is failing’, it is this government that will pay the price. Defending Brexit can’t be left to a few people on Twitter.
“So we need to get serious about communicating what we have achieved, what we are achieving, and what can still be achieved, by bringing power home to the British people – making us a full democracy again and putting voters back in charge.”
Setting out the scale of the challenge, he said that “we can all see what’s wrong with the country” but “it is us that have been in power for 13 years” and the Conservatives “bear responsibility”. He predicted Labour will argue it is “time for a change” but the Tories should also use this slogan and promise policies that are “genuinely going to make this country different”.
In his prepared remarks, he pushed for the 2030 deadline to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to be ditched, saying: “ We didn’t leave the EU only to impose even more damaging rules on ourselves. It has to go – the sooner the better.”
Lord Frost considers this issue a “big test”. He argues that Labour considers green economics a pathway towards a “socialist utopia” and is prepared to “destroy the UK oil and gas industry on the way”.
At the Newcastle gathering he was due to set out clear dividing lines between the Conservatives and Labour, painting it as “the political party for busybodying social workers, woke university lecturers, and know-it-all HR directors.”
There is strong speculation that Lord Frost may stand for a Westminster seat in the next election.
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