Boris Johnson has created a minister for Brexit post – months after claiming he had got the issue “done”.
Former negotiator Lord Frost will become an unelected member of the cabinet, overseeing the future relationship with the European Union.
Downing Street said that the Conservative peer will become a minister of state in the Cabinet Office, reporting to the prime minister, from March 1.
He will also replace Michael Gove as chair of the UK-EU joint committee on the Withdrawal Agreement, a key role as Northern Ireland faces post-Brexit trade disruption.
And Lord Frost will be the UK’s chair of the Partnership Council, which will try to resolve disputes arising from the trade deal with Brussels.
The prime minister earlier ditched plans to make his ally Lord Frost the National Security Adviser days before he was due to take up the role.
Next month the unelected peer will be a cabinet minister, expected to co-ordinate relations with the EU and its 27 member states and work on post-Brexit regulatory changes.
Lord Frost said: “I am hugely honoured to have been appointed minister to take forward our relationship with the EU after Brexit.”
He added that he would be standing “on the shoulders of giants”, particularly of Gove, “who did an extraordinary job for this country in talks” with Brussels.
Gove said it was a “great appointment”, adding that there is “no-one better to take forward our post-Brexit relationship with the EU”.
But Labour’s shadow international trade secretary Emily Thornberry said: “So we’ve finally got one minister taking a grip of the problems with our post-Brexit trading relationships with Europe.
“Someone who has never been elected by anyone in this country, and won’t be accountable in the House of Commons to any of us who have.”