BORIS Johnson has been urged to treat the resignation of Brexit negotiator David Frost as a “wake up call”.

Lord Frost brought forward his resignation as Brexit minister on Saturday after the Mail on Sunday reported his plans to stand down in January.

Frost, a key ally of Johnson, had been leading negotiations with the EU over issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol and previously the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

He had threatened on numerous occasions to trigger Article 16 of the protocol, allowing either side to unilaterally bring in measures if there were serious disruptions to trade. The EU had warned there would be “serious consequences” should this happen.

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The 56-year-old said in his resignation letter that he had “concerns over the current direction of travel” of the UK Government.

The SNP have said the shock exit of Frost should be seen as a warning, adding that the Tory hard Brexit has left “everyone in a worse position”.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill has said Frost’s replacement will “need to find solutions” to make the protocol work.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said Frost’s resignation is a bad sign for the Prime Minister’s commitment to removing the Irish Sea border.

And, a senior Tory has said the country needs a "wartime Prime Minister" to tackle the pandemic.

Frost wrote to Johnson on Saturday and said that building a new relationship with the EU would be a “long-term task”.

He stated that Brexit is “secure” but that the UK Government’s challenge is now to “deliver on the opportunities it gives us”.

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Frost, above, was due to step down in January but resigned with "immediate effect" on Saturday

He said: “You know my concerns about the current direction of travel.

“I hope we will move as fast as possible to where we need to get to: a lightly regulated, low-tax, entrepreneurial economy, at the cutting edge of modern science and economic change.

“Three hundred years of history show that countries which take that route grow and prosper, and I am confident we will too.”

In the Mail on Sunday’s report, they include claims from senior government sources that Frost’s resignation was sparked by Westminster’s Plan B measures, including the introduction of vaccine passports.

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He told the PM that the UK “needs to learn to live with Covid”. He said that Johnson took a “brave decision” opening the country back up in July.

Frost added: “Sadly it did not prove to be irreversible, as I wished, and believe you did too. I hope we can get back on track soon and not be tempted by the kind of coercive measures we have seen elsewhere.”

In his response, Johnson praised Frost for his work on the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

He said: “You should be immensely proud of your historic service to this government and this country.”

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The SNP said that Frost was walking away from the “Brexit shambles he created”.

SNP’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Alyn Smith MP said: “If nothing else, this should serve as a wake-up call to the Tory government and Boris Johnson.

“On top of lying, his Brexit mess, and being at the centre of every scandal in Westminster in recent times, he has held us all in contempt by having Christmas parties while the rest of us were told to abide by coronavirus restrictions.

“The Prime Minister should do the right thing and resign.

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“The Tories' hard Brexit - helped along by Lord Frost - has also left everyone in a worse position, especially Scotland and Northern Ireland who didn’t even vote for it.

“Lord Frost may have resigned but he cannot be allowed to evade accountability while he takes up a cushy seat in the House of Lords.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Northern Ireland FM O’Neill told the BBC Sunday Politics programme that although Frost negotiated Brexit he has “worked to undermine it” every day since.

She said: “I am less concerned about what is going on in the Tory Party and the dismay and the disruption.

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O'Neill said the next Brexit minister must find solutions to make the NI protocol work

"What I am more concerned about is that the protocol is made to work, that pragmatic solutions are found, that certainty and stability is achieved for all of our business community here who have been left high and dry in terms of uncertainty because of the Brexit mess.

“David Frost will be replaced by another minister and whoever that minister is, they need to find solutions, work with the EU, make the protocol work and provide that certainty and stability that is desperately required.”

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said Frost’s resignation raises “serious questions” for Johnson and his approach to the NI protocol.

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He said: “Whether on Northern Ireland’s access to medicines, our economic prosperity and trade with the rest of the United Kingdom, or on the growing divergence between NI and GB, this protocol has been a deeply damaging deal for the people we represent.

“The Prime Minister must now urgently decide which is more important – the protocol or the stability of the political institutions.”

Donaldson has repeatedly threatened to pull down the Stormont powersharing institutions over the protocol and the trade border in the Irish sea.

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Protestors from Border Communities Against Brexit in November asked the UK not to trigger Article 16

Tobias Ellwood (Bournemouth East), who chairs the Commons Defence Select Committee, said many Conservative colleagues shared the desire for there to be “a consistency of where we want to go”.

Speaking on Times Radio, he said: “We need an, almost like, a wartime leader, we need a strong No 10, and the machinery of No 10 around Boris Johnson, that’s what needs to be improved.

“The boosterism, the energy, is not enough in these current circumstances alone.”

Read Lord Frost's full resignation letter and Johnson's response below. 

Frost's resignation letter.

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Johnson's response. 

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