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UK News: David Frost hailedas the man to hold key Red Wall seat in by-election

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Former chief Brexit negotiator David Frost was last night hailed as the man who could win a key by-election for the Conservatives.

Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake led calls for Lord Frost to give up his peerage and stand in the Wakefield by-election, seen as a test of whether Boris Johnson’s party can hold on to so-called Red Wall seats won from Labour in 2019.

Last night, Mr Hollinrake said it would be ‘fantastic’ if Lord Frost stood in the Brexit-supporting West Yorkshire seat. He told The Mail on Sunday: ‘I worked with him in the Cabinet Office and I have the highest regard for him on a personal level.’

The Tories are defending a narrow 3,358-vote majority in Wakefield. Party sources are concerned that in the wake of the Partygate row and cost of living crisis the seat, long held by Labour, will revert to Sir Keir Starmer’s party.

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The by-election was triggered last week after sitting MP Imran Ahmad Khan announced he would resign after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

But Mr Hollinrake said the Tory chances of holding the seat would be increased if someone of Lord Frost’s standing were to be the party’s candidate.

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He said: ‘His profile would be very helpful in terms of our electoral chances.’

The Thirsk and Malton MP also suggested that Lord Frost would soothe the party’s fears.

He said that as an MP, Lord Frost would ‘calm a lot of nerves and talk a lot of common sense. He would be the steadying influence we need. A lot of people are quite nervous about various things right now.’

Lord Frost declined to comment last night. But friends hinted that he could be happy to swap the Lords for the Commons. One said: ‘The House of Lords is not the place where you can do real politics. He still has so much to offer. It’s obvious the party needs a real Conservative.’ The friend added: ‘If anyone can win in Wakefield in these difficult circumstances, it’s someone with that sort of name recognition.’

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Under a law change in 2014, Lord Frost – who was only ennobled in 2020 – can give up his membership of the Upper House.

Tory MP and ex-Brexit Minister Steve Baker has already said that the idea of Lord Frost in the Commons ‘is a tantalising possibility’.

He added: ‘Too few people know that it is possible to swap from the Lords to the Commons, and it is certainly worth bearing in mind.

‘But I wouldn’t blame Lord Frost if he chose not to do it this time round.’

However, Mr Baker said that he would like Lord Frost to be an MP ‘for many years’.

Tory hopes of holding on to Wakefield have also been buoyed after ex-Labour MP Mary Creagh, who held the seat for 14 years until losing in 2019, ruled herself out of standing in the by-election.

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