Boris Johnson has until autumn to save his job, says Lord Frost

Former Brexit minister encourages British prime minister to reshuffle Cabinet and appoint “serious deputy”

Boris Johnson speaks during the Prime Minister's Questions at the House of Commons in London on Wednesday. EPA
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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has until autumn to set out a clear Conservative vision for the future or face being removed by his own MPs, his former Brexit minister, Lord David Frost, has warned.

Mr Frost said Mr Johnson could not afford to ignore the “depth of opposition” he faces within his own party after surviving a bruising vote of confidence on Monday.

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, he wrote in The Daily Telegraph.

“Every prime minister has weaknesses and blind spots," Mr Frost said.

"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.

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

Mr Johnson earlier 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 housing scheme.

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

He said it looked like the government was constantly at risk of being overwhelmed by crises it was having to deal with.

“Like the cockpit of a crashing airliner, the dashboard lights are all flashing red," Mr Frost said.

"The government has to decide which problems must be dealt with now and which can be left until later."

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

Mr Frost 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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Updated: June 10, 2022, 12:37 AM