Lord Frost has launched his bid to become an MP as he was placed on the Conservative Party’s candidates list for the next general election.
The Tory peer, 58, who served as a Brexit minister in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet while in the House of Lords, is in contention for a safe Conservative seat.
If successful, he would be required to give up his seat in the Lords in exchange for a place in the Commons – the first person to do so since a rule change to allow such a move in 2014.
Lord Frost, who is from Derby, has not yet been selected for a specific constituency but could plump for Mid Derbyshire. The current MP is fellow Tory Pauline Latham, who is standing down at the next election and holds a majority of more than 15,000.
Lord Frost rose to fame as the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator in 2019, and led the talks that resulted in Mr Johnson’s revised Brexit withdrawal agreement.
Following the deal, he led Britain into trade deal negotiations with the EU, before being nominated for a peerage and serving as a Cabinet minister.
During a dispute with the EU over Northern Ireland, Mr Johnson described his friend as the “greatest Frost since the Great Frost of 1709”.
Rule change allows Lords to retire
The rule change in 2014 allows life peers to resign or retire from the Lords and run for office as an MP.
Although 165 peers have left the Lords since the rule change, none has yet stood to be an MP. Previously, only hereditary peers could renounce their titles – as Sir Alec Douglas-Home did after becoming prime minister in 1963.
The last prime minister to serve from the House of Lords, other than Sir Alec’s four-day tenure in 1963, was Lord Salisbury, who stepped down in 1902 after a Cabinet split over the outbreak of the Boer War.
Lord Frost has previously suggested he would consider a seat in the Commons, and was linked to the vacant seat of Tiverton and Honiton after the resignation of Neil Parish, who was caught watching pornography in the chamber.
His hopes were dashed after the local Conservative association said it would seek a local candidate.
The subsequent by-election was won by the Liberal Democrats.
Lord Frost is considered to be on the Right of the Conservative Party and was formerly an ally of Mr Johnson, despite his resignation from the former prime minister’s administration in December 2021.
At the time, he condemned “the neo-socialists, green fanatics and pro-woke crowd” in Downing Street during Mr Johnson’s tenure.
A long-time search
Lord Frost is a supporter of lower taxes and an opponent of both net zero and the Government’s Covid restrictions.
The peer is understood to have been in search of a place in the Commons for some time, but would only leave the House of Lords for a safe seat.
Peers who resign from the Lords are not allowed to resume their seats, although they can retain the style “Lord” or “Baroness” for life.
Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, has pledged to abolish the House of Lords altogether and replace it with an elected upper chamber as part of plans to “restore trust in politics”.
Lord Frost is speaking at the National Conservatism conference, which begins in London on Monday.