David Frost, Baron Frost

David George Hamilton Frost, Baron Frost, CMG, PC (born 21 February 1965), is a British politician and former diplomat serving as Minister of State at the Cabinet Office since 2021. A full member of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet, Frost has also served as Chief Negotiator of Task Force Europe since January 2020.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] He previously served as Chief Negotiator for Exiting the European Union from 2019 to 2020 and as the Prime Minister's Europe Adviser from 2019 to 2021. He was elevated to the House of Lords as a life peer in September 2020.[9]

The Lord Frost

Official portrait, 2021
Minister of State at the Cabinet Office
Assumed office
1 March 2021
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byOffice established
Chief Negotiator of Task Force Europe
Assumed office
31 January 2020
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byOffice established
Prime Minister's Europe Adviser
In office
24 July 2019  1 March 2021
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded bySir Olly Robbins
Chief Negotiator for Exiting the European Union
In office
24 July 2019  31 January 2020
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded bySir Olly Robbins
Succeeded byPosition abolished
British Ambassador to Denmark
In office
1 May 2006  31 October 2008
MonarchElizabeth II
Preceded byNicholas Browne
Succeeded byNick Archer
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
8 September 2020
Life Peerage
Personal details
David George Hamilton Frost

(1965-02-21) 21 February 1965 (age 56)
Derby, England
Political partyConservative[1]
Jacqueline Dias
(m. 2003; div. 2018)
(m. 2018)
EducationNottingham High School
Alma materSt John's College, Oxford
ProfessionCivil servant
Awards Life peer

Lord Frost spent his early professional career in the FCO, becoming HM Ambassador to Denmark, EU Director at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and Director for Europe and International Trade at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (DBIS).[10] He served as special adviser to Boris Johnson when he was Foreign Secretary in Theresa May’s government. It was announced in June 2020 that Frost would succeed Sir Mark Sedwill as National Security Adviser after Sedwill's departure in September 2020. David Quarrey took over the role of acting National Security Adviser while Lord Frost was completing the Brexit negotiations.[11] On 29 January 2021, before ever taking up the position "full-time", Frost was replaced as UK National Security Adviser.[12]

Frost became a full member of the Cabinet, and a Minister of State in the Cabinet Office, on 1 March.[13]

Early life

Frost was born in Derby and was educated at Nottingham High School as a free scholar from 1976 to 1983, before going up to St. John's College, Oxford,[10] where he took a first-class degree (MA) in French and history. His studies majored on medieval European history and medieval French.[14] [failed verification]

Diplomatic career

Frost joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1987, and shortly after was posted to the British High Commission in Nicosia where he learned Greek and was responsible for covering Greek Cypriot politics and the Cyprus problem. In 1993, he was posted to the UK Representation to the EU in Brussels as First Secretary for Economic and Financial Affairs, where he worked on issues such as the EU Budget, the economic and financial implications of enlargement to Central Europe, and the Euro. He was then posted to the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York, where he covered Human Rights and Social and Economic Affairs.[10]

Frost returned to London to be successively the Private Secretary to the Head of the Diplomatic Service, Sir John Kerr (now the Baron Kerr of Kinlochard), and Deputy Head of the European Union External Department, covering international trade policy issues and relations with the Balkans and Eastern Europe.[10]

Frost was promoted Economic Counsellor to the British Embassy, Paris, in 2001, where he was responsible for reporting and lobbying on all aspects of French economic and commercial life, together with its EU policy. He returned to London to be Head of the EU (Internal) Department and then Director for the European Union in the Foreign Office. In this period he led work on a range of economic and social issues, notably the resistance to the initial Working Time Directive, and the negotiation on the EU's multi-annual Budget framework. He was a member of the UK's leadership team during its EU Presidency in 2005.[10]

From May 2006 until October 2008, Frost served as HM Ambassador to Denmark and was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in the 2006 Birthday Honours. He was then Director for Strategy and Policy Planning in the Foreign Office from October 2008 to October 2010, before being seconded to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills where he served three years as Director for Europe, Trade, and International Affairs, HMG's most senior trade policy official.[10][15][16]

Post-diplomatic career

Frost left HM Diplomatic Service in 2013 to become CEO of the Scotch Whisky Association, a major trade association;[15] he was admitted as a Liveryman of the Distillers' Company[17] in 2016.

After Boris Johnson became Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Frost was appointed in November 2016 as his special adviser,[18][19] serving until Johnson resigned from office in July 2018.[10]

In early 2019, Frost became CEO of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.[20] He has also served as a public commentator on the European Union, global economic and commercial issues, and multilateral diplomacy, as a member of the Advisory Council of the eurosceptic think tank Open Europe,[10] and as an adviser on Brexit to the Scottish Government.[19]

Johnson government

Brexit negotiations

Frost was the United Kingdom's Chief Negotiator for Exiting the European Union during the Brexit negotiations in 2019 which resulted in the revised Brexit withdrawal agreement. After the UK left the European Union in January 2020, Frost led the UK's negotiations with the EU on a free trade agreement during the Brexit transition period.

The UK government led by Boris Johnson pursued a desire to trade freely with the EU while being subject to as few EU rules as possible, and especially not to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.[21] For its part, the EU insisted that the price for UK access to the European Single Market was compliance with EU subsidies, social, environmental and other regulations to avoid distorting competition in the single market.[21] Another major point of contention was fisheries. Part of the impetus for Brexit was the British desire to regain full control over their fishing waters, whereas EU coastal states demanded to retain all or most of the fishing rights they enjoyed under the EU's Common Fisheries Policy.[21]

The trade agreement, negotiated under increasing time pressure due to the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, had to address all of these issues.[22] Formal trade negotiations, in which Michel Barnier represented the EU and Frost represented the UK, began on 31 March 2020. They were originally due to be concluded by the end of October 2020.[23] However, negotiations continued[24] and formally ended on 24 December 2020 when an agreement, the EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, was reached in principle after ten negotiating rounds.

UK National Security Adviser nomination

On 28 June 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his nomination of Frost for a life peerage and as UK National Security Adviser, succeeding Lord Sedwill.[25] The Financial Times reported that this was unpopular with military and security services, who felt Frost was underqualified.[26] The appointment received criticism from former Cabinet Secretary Lord O'Donnell and former National Security Adviser Lord Ricketts due to concerns that the Civil Service's impartiality was being eroded by appointing a special adviser in this role.[27] The appointment was also criticised by previous PM Theresa May in Parliament, who highlighted its political nature, and said that Frost does not have proven expertise in national security.[28]

Created a life peer, titled Baron Frost, of Allenton, in the County of Derbyshire, on 12 August 2020, he was introduced to the House of Lords on 8 September 2020.[29]

A FOI response stated that Frost continued as Chief Negotiator to the EU as of October 2020 and David Quarrey took over the role of acting NSA.[11]

On 29 January 2021, before he could take up the role full-time, Frost was replaced as UK National Security Adviser by Sir Stephen Lovegrove.[30][31][12] Instead, Frost was appointed as the UK Representative for Brexit and International Policy.[32]

Minister of State for the Cabinet Office

Frost has been a Minister of State in the Cabinet Office since 1 March 2021 and a full member of the Cabinet.[13] He also succeeded Michael Gove as the UK chairman of the EU–UK Partnership Council.[33] His first action, on 3 March, was to exempt British companies from certain regulations when shipping food to Northern Ireland.[34] In June 2021, he wrote an article in the Financial Times calling for the EU to revisit the Northern Ireland protocol, saying the "EU needs a new playbook for dealing with neighbours, one that involves pragmatic solutions between friends, not the imposition of one side’s rules on the other and legal purism" and noted the government had underestimated the effect of the protocol.[35][36]

Personal life

In 1993 Frost married Jacqueline Elizabeth Dias, divorcing in 2018;[37] he married secondly Ambassador Harriet Mathews later that year.[10]

In March 2020, Frost displayed "mild symptoms" of COVID-19 and accordingly self-isolated.[38]

See also


  1. "Parliamentary career for Lord Frost - MPs and Lords - UK Parliament". UK Parliament. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  2. @Number10press (17 February 2020). "The negotiations on the UK's future relationship with the EU are led by Task Force Europe, a team within No 10 who report directly into the Prime Minister. Follow this account for updates" (Tweet). Retrieved 23 February 2020 via Twitter.
  3. Woodcock, Andrew (27 January 2020). "Brexit: New Task Force Europe to lead EU trade negotiations as UK leaves bloc". The Independent. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  4. Parker, George (15 January 2020). "Boris Johnson puts faith in Brexit supporter David Frost". Financial Times. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  5. Zeffman, Henry (29 December 2019). "Boris Johnson to unveil Taskforce Europe". The Times. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  6. Cowburn, Ashley (29 December 2019). "Brexit: Boris Johnson 'to launch Taskforce Europe' negotiating team in charge of future relationship talks with EU". The Independent. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  7. Honeycombe-Foster, Matt (29 December 2019). "Boris Johnson 'to take charge of EU trade talks' with new 'Taskforce Europe'". PoliticsHome. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  8. Vaughan, Richard (29 December 2019). "Brexit, Cabinet cull and Budget are top of Boris Johnson's New Year to-do list". inews. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  9. "UK's top civil servant announces exit". BBC News. 28 June 2020. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  10. "Frost, David George Hamilton". www.ukwhoswho.com. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2018. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u42701. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  11. "Deputy National Security Advisers" (PDF). whatdotheyknow.com. Whatdotheyknow. 23 October 2020. Retrieved 23 October 2020. David Frost remains Chief Negotiator for the EU talks and those negotiations will remain his top single priority until they have concluded, one way or another. Therefore, the Prime Minister agreed that David Quarrey should become Acting NSA
  12. Parker, George; Warrell, Helen; Foster, Peter (29 January 2021). "Boris Johnson reverses decision on new UK national security adviser". Financial Times. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  13. "Lord Frost CMG appointed as a Minister of State in the Cabinet Office". gov.uk. 2 March 2021. Retrieved 17 February 2021.
  14. Hutchinson, Laura (31 July 2019). "'Officials are far from starry-eyed about Europe' – what new Brexit sherpa David Frost thinks". Civil Service World. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  15. "Former diplomat to lead whisky body". BBC News. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  16. Hutchinson, Laura (2 August 2019). "All about David Frost - the PM's new Chief Brexit Negotiator". Politics Home. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  17. "Home – The Worshipful Company of Distillers".
  18. "Whisky boss quits for Boris Johnson role". BBC News. 25 October 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  19. Colson, Thomas (27 October 2016). "Boris Johnson's new advisor could be Britain's hope for avoiding a 'Hard Brexit'". Business Insider UK. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  20. "David Frost CMG to become next Chief Executive at the London Chamber of Commerce". WILD SEARCH. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  21. Mueller, Benjamin (24 December 2020). "5 Takeaways From the Post-Brexit Trade Deal". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  22. Landler, Mark; Castle, Stephen (24 December 2020). "Britain and E.U. Reach Landmark Deal on Brexit". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  23. Gordon Rayner and James Frayne (23 July 2020). "UK sets October deadline for post-Brexit trade deal as Michel Barnier warns agreement 'unlikely'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  24. Jim Brunsden (30 October 2020). "Negotiators hunker down in Brussels in search of Brexit breakthrough. Talks to continue in Belgian capital until at least Monday". Financial Times. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  25. "Appointment of Prime Minister's National Security Adviser". GOV.UK. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  26. Payne, Sebastian; Parker, George; Pickard, Jim (28 June 2020). "Mark Sedwill steps down as UK's top civil servant". The Financial Times. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  27. Murphy, Joe (29 June 2020). "Former top mandarins voice fears over Boris Johnson's choice of David Frost as National Security Adviser". Evening Standard. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  28. "Theresa May criticises PM over choice of Brexit envoy for security role". BBC News. 30 June 2020. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  29. "No. 3614444". The London Gazette. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  30. Stewart, Heather; Sabbagh, Dan (29 January 2021). "Brexit negotiator David Frost pulled away from national security role". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  31. "No 10 replaces Frost as National Security Adviser days before he starts". BBC News. 29 January 2021. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  32. Gallardo, Cristina (29 January 2021). "David Frost stays in the Brexit driver's seat". Politico. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  33. Wright, Oliver; Zeffman, Henry (18 February 2021). "Michael Gove stripped of Europe role as Brexit negotiator David Frost joins cabinet". The Times. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  34. Gallardo, Cristina (4 March 2021). "UK's new Brexit man makes his mark with Northern Ireland row". Politico. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  35. David, Frost (6 June 2021). "David Frost: the EU must revisit the Northern Ireland protocol". www.ft.com. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  36. Fisher, Lucy (7 June 2021). "Boris Johnson thinks 'special relationship' label makes Britain look needy". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  37. "Jacqueline Dias".
  38. Forrest, Adam (27 March 2020). "Coronavirus: UK's Brexit negotiator David Frost self-isolates with symptoms". The Independent. Retrieved 27 March 2020.