Lord David Frost was catapulted into the public eye when he became Boris Johnson’s chief Brexit negotiator back in July 2019, tasked with the momentous job of negotiating a free trade agreement with the EU during the transition period. In a wide-ranging interview, he revealed his shock and disappointment at moments where he has been spat at on the streets, pushed and shouted at.
Lord Frost said the experiences have left him feeling “edgy” when in public.
He told Conservative Home: “The degree of aggression, hostility on social media and beyond, has been quite striking to me. I’ve had people spit at me in the street, push me, shout at me on trains, this sort of thing.
“So I’m now a bit edgy about any kind of public interaction. That has been a real surprise and disappointment to me.
“I mean it shows the passions that have been unleashed.”
Having been Mr Johnson’s political special adviser when he served as Foreign Secretary for Theresa May’s Government, Lord Frost had never been an MP before.
He told how the public exposure and abuse came “suddenly out of the blue”.
Lord Frost added: “Most people become ministers and do controversial things in politics after they’ve been an MP.
“For me it all came suddenly out of the blue, and having to get used to the public exposure suddenly, without any kind of prep, has been quite shocking in some ways to me.
“And I think if you’ve had time to get used to the idea it’s one thing. All of a sudden to find it there has been shocking.
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“I mean I’m not saying I should be protected from hostile comment on social media.
“Don’t get me wrong. I definitely don’t think that. There are plenty of block and mute tools. I certainly don’t think we need an Online Harms Bill to protect me from comment.”
Lord Frost was appointed Chief Negotiator of Task Force Europe in January 2020.
He was then elevated to the House of Lords as a life peer in September 2020.
Lord Frost became Minister of State at the Cabinet Office and a full member of the cabinet in March 2021.
But he resigned as Brexit Minister in December 2021 over “concerns about the current direction of travel” regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter to Mr Johnson, the peer said he hoped the Prime Minister would “not be tempted” by “coercive measures” to tackle Covid.
It comes after Lord Frost strongly hinted he is eyeing up a run as a Conservative Member of Parliament following weeks of speculation over the former Brexit minister’s future plans.
He had previously been tipped to throw his hat into the ring for the Honiton and Tiverton by-election in Devon following the so-called Tractor-gate scandal with led to the downfall of the Conservative MP Neil Parish.