BORIS JOHNSON is in danger of turning off voters with his wishy-washy ideas for improving their lives, his former Brexit minister has warned.
Lord Frost has detected a “sense of drift” in Downing Street which has left him — and millions of others — confused over what the PM stands for.
In a sharp assessment, the peer has outlined what is wrong with the Tories and predicts they will lose power unless BoJo gets them back on track quickly.
He suggests Boris is torn between delivering real Conservative policies or adopting Labour-light ones in a misguided bid to please Red Wall voters.
Lord Frost, who negotiated Britain’s departure from the EU, has drawn up a three-point plan which he claims will save the party — and the country.
He has called for action to rebuild pride in the nation, promote economic freedom and halt government intervention.
Mr Johnson risks throwing away the acclaim for delivering Brexit and navigating the nation out of a pandemic, Lord Frost said in the Daily Telegraph.
He writes: “Voters don’t give credit for past glories. They want to know ‘what now?’ And here the prospectus looks thinner. The Government doesn’t seem to be able to decide whether it is a traditional, low-tax Tory administration, or whether its ambition is to turn Britain into a European-style social democracy.
“Consequently, it isn’t pleasing anyone — and the sense of drift is palpable.
“Whatever happens with partygate, things need to get back on track.
End big state
“If we don’t stop vacillating between inconsistent objectives, and failing to make the case of any of them, we won’t take people with us — and we will deserve to lose.”
Lord Frost, who quit the Cabinet in December over the direction of the Government, fears Mr Johnson is taking a “dangerously effective false trail” by believing new 2019 Tory voters don’t want true blue policies.
He says the “historic genius” of the Tory party is to “bring together the maximum amount of political and economic free- dom with a belief in our country, what it stands for, its cohesion and our collective solidarity.”
The peer adds: “Free markets, low taxes, freedom of speech and ideas, within a strong national democracy with which we all identify, that is the right way forward for our party and our country.”
His three-point plan includes action to unite the nation, starting with re-establishing British sovereignty in Northern Ireland.
He said: “We should put an end to ‘devolve and forget’ in Scotland and Wales. Local decision-making is fine, but it should come within a sensible national framework.”
Free speech must be protected, starting with a recasting of the Online Safety Bill, he says, and helping the disadvantaged should not mean giving special privileges to those who are members of a “favoured group”.
Secondly, he called for action to turbo-charge production with a return to free markets and competition. He wants people around the world to look at Britain and say we are on the right path.
Thirdly, BoJo should end the big state and replace it with a more effective one.
The Government spends £4 of every £10 the country produces, and Lord Frost believes it has taken on too many complex tasks, such as hitting net zero carbon emissions.
He said: “I know I am advocating an ambitious programme. We can’t deliver it all in the remaining two years of this Parliament. But what we can do is begin the work and explain it.” Last night senior Tories rallied behind the peer’s road map to victory, some even hailing him as a future leader.
Former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey said: “Lord Frost is absolutely right in what the Conservative Party needs to do and Boris Johnson would be well advised both to heed and implement it.”
Steve Baker, former Brexit minister and deputy chair of the Covid Recovery Group of Tory MPs, said: “Lord Frost has shown that a firm commitment to the principles of a free society is the keel we need to keep our country, our prosperity and our party on course.”
Former children’s minister Tim Loughton described Lord Frost’s plan as “a breath of fresh air”.
Get a grip
He added: “His article encapsulates all that is good about Conservatism and sets out the battleground for the next election.”
John Longworth, former MEP and chairman of the Independent Business Network, said: “Lord Frost is absolutely correct to point the way for the Conservative Government, which appears to have lost its way.
“Boris needs to get a grip and find his gusto and connection with the people.
“Britain needs to believe in itself, stand up for the values of free speech and democracy. People want wealth not welfare, which requires free markets and enterprise, tax cuts and deregulation and rewarding hard work and family values. Lord Frost is a PM in the making.”