Lord Frost says Sunak must ‘get off the stage’ in call for interim Conservative leader

Rishi Sunak must “get off the stage” and make way for an interim Conservative leader, Lord Frost has said. 

Lord Frost, the UK’s former chief Brexit negotiator, said that the Conservative Party should avoid “rushing” the race to replace Sunak, but that the former prime minister should leave his leadership role immediately.

Last week, Sunak confirmed that he would resign as Conservative leader, albeit only when arrangements were in place to choose his successor.

Last Friday, in the wake of his party’s historic election defeat, Sunak said: “Following this result, I will step down as party leader, not immediately, but once the formal arrangements for selecting my successor are in place.”

‘I’m sorry’: Rishi Sunak outlines plan to resign as Conservative leader in final No 10 speech

But Lord Frost has now called on Sunak to fast track his resignation as Conservative leader.

Speaking at a Popular Conservatism event in Westminster on Tuesday morning, the former cabinet minister said: “The first thing is to get serious. What does that mean? It means not immediately descending into the mudslinging of a rushed leadership election.

“I can’t see why we shouldn’t have an interim leader and time to debate things properly.”

He added: “Those who decided upon the political strategy that got us here, those who stuck to it in the face of clear evidence it was failing and those who then slandered and tried to kneecap their opponents in the party, they need to get off the stage as soon as possible and let the rest of us move on.”

***Politics.co.uk is the UK’s leading digital-only political website. Subscribe to our daily newsletter for all the latest election news and analysis.***

Lord Frost went on to argue that making the Conservative Party “recognisably conservative” is the only way to win back voters.

He called for a “return to mainstream conservatism” and said his party must turn away from trying to be “all things to all men”.

The former Brexit minister said: “We are perilously close to taking some bad decisions which could end up wrecking this party for good.”

Suella Braverman also addressed the event, joining via a video link from Washington, where she addressed the National Conservatism conference on Monday evening. 

The former home secretary claimed that Rishi Sunak’s programme in government could have been “quite happily” adopted by the new Labour administration, as she accused the ex-PM of focusing on “farcical gimmicks”.

She told the PopCon summit: “What we mostly did after 2022 when Rishi Sunak was prime minister was to roll out a programme that our new Labour government today could quite happily adopt and probably will.

“On migration, on taxation, on the size of the state, on issues to do with politically correct nonsense in the public sector and indeed the corporate private sector, there were farcical gimmicks like proposed smoking bans applied to people depending on what year you were born. There was more and more regulation that we were passing on businesses, on housing and development.”

Politics.co.uk is the UK’s leading digital-only political website. Subscribe to our daily newsletter for all the latest election news and analysis.