UK’s chief Brexit negotiator insists the PM - not Cummings - makes key decisions over talks

PUBLISHED: 14:10 27 May 2020 | UPDATED: 14:20 27 May 2020

David Frost, the UK's chief Brexit negotiator, and Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove. Photograph: Parliament TV.

David Frost, the UK's chief Brexit negotiator, and Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove. Photograph: Parliament TV.

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A Commons Brexit committee has grilled the UK’s chief negotiator over Dominic Cummings’ involvement in EU trade talks.

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Questioned on the role the prime minister’s top aide had in negotiations, Brexit negotiator David Frost said he had never been “instructed” by Dominic Cummings.

Tory MP Peter Bone asked: “What’s your relationship with Dominic Cummings, do you have to report to him?

“Because he seemed to say this weekend that he was the gatekeeper to the prime minister and he decided who spoke to the prime minister about what.

“I mean, are you more senior to him or do you have to go through him?”

Frost replied: “I report to the prime minister on the conduct of these negotiations and to the committee.

“What I can say is I’ve never had an instruction on these negotiations from Mr Cummings and I don’t think he would expect to give me one.

“He regards me as responsible for the negotiations because the prime minister gave me that task.”

He also alleged that the government’s Brexit policy would not “collapse” if Cummings was not involved.

Bone said: “Do you think the whole of the Brexit policy would collapse if Mr Cummings wasn’t there?”

Frost responded: “The Brexit policy is set by the prime minister and by the committee, so I’m quite confident that whatever the arrangement for special advisers can continue.”

Frost earlier admitted that Boris Johnson will take part in third-round talks with the EU in June.

“The expectation on both sides is that these are done at leader level,” he told MPs.

“And, therefore, yes, the prime minister would attend.”

He also reaffirmed that the UK will not seek an extension, even if it is asked, despite the EU saying it was open to offering a two-year extension.

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