Lord Frost To Address 1922 Committee As Tory Party Unrest Grows
Lord Frost, the government's chief Brexit negotiator, is set to address the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs on Wednesday afternoon, PoliticsHome understands.
Cabinet Office Minister Frost, who is leading the UK's negotiations with the European Union on the post-Brexit relationship, will address Tory MPs following weeks of unrest in the party over Boris Johnson’s leadership.
Mood among backbenchers was muted last week following the Johnson’s appearance before the committee, with many calling for a tougher stance on illegal migrants crossing the Channel.
The Telegraph reported on Tuesday that several Tory MPs, including one party whip, had submitted letters of no confidence in Johnson to committee chair Sir Graham Brady in recent days.
But one senior Conservative MP said Frost's appearance was unlikely to calm the overall mood within the party.
"It will pacify a few, anger others," they told PoliticsHome.
Frost's appearance will be his first before the 1922 Committee. A government source said he would update MPs on talks with Brussels but wouldn't be making a new announcement.
His appearance comes amid claims that the UK is softening its stance on suspending the Northern Ireland Protocol by triggering Article 16.
It was widely believed that the Prime Minister was waiting until the COP26 climate change summit was out of the way before suspending parts of the protocol following poor progress in EU-UK talks over post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland.
However, Frost's change of tone in recent talks with his EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic prompted claims that the government had stepped back from the brink of triggering Article 16.
EU sources believe the threat of quick trade retaliation from the bloc, plus damage done to No.10 by its handling of the Owen Paterson affair, led Boris Johnson to drop the threat.
Frost is also facing pressure over escalating tensions with the French over fishing rights. This week French fishers have threatened to block UK freight within days amid an ongoing dispute over licenses.
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