The names keep coming and going but the problem remains the same. For Lord Frost now read Liz Truss MP as the Foreign Secretary takes on responsibility for the ongoing post-Brexit talks with the European Union.
This includes elements of the Northern Ireland Protocol, agreed by the UK and EU in 2019, which allows goods to cross the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland without checks.
Essentially, the Foreign Secretary will be double-jobbing in Boris Johnson’s cabinet and the appointment makes it look like the Prime Minister was running out of options for the job.
Liz Truss would rank high among the list of potential candidates to replace the Prime Minister should he fail to find a way to unite party that has had more than its share of difficulties in the last few weeks.
Any trust in the government has virtually evaporated following revelations that Christmas parties were hosted in Downing Street last Christmas during lockdown.
Now one of the strongest members of the Cabinet is next to tackle a role that others have failed to get to grips with.
The Conservative big hitter has been in her Foreign Office role for the past few months, but the poison chalice of Brexit negotiation now rests in her hands. The political sensitivity is closer to home.
A Boris Johnston tactic to undermine a rival, or a serious move to try to solve a problem like Brexit?
Even the resignation of Lord Frost has caused division. Some see it as an opportunity to start afresh with a new face, while others — supporters of Lord Frost — see his exit from the cabinet as another devastating blow to the authority of the Boris Johnson administration.
Either way it all adds to the confusion over the direction of travel the Prime Minister.
From Northern Ireland’s point of view, Liz Truss is going to have to court the goodwill of all sides. But she is climbing a mountain where others have perished. Finding that goodwill to help her along the climb is going to be the first hurdle.
Where Lord Frost was abrasive, she will need be receptive.
Liz Truss will need to tread carefully lest she falters on the stony ground that has already accounted for her colleagues.
But a fresh face can bring fresh hope and that will be the Christmas wish for those who want to see the NI Protocol issues come to an end. But a government that continues to stagger in with the hangover of the Christmas party the night before will need to steady itself and before it can take any coherent steps forward.