The European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator said the Prime Minister should stand ready to extend the transition period beyond the end of the year – just as the Queen agreed to accommodate the Duke and Duchess of Sussexes’ wish to quit the Royal Family. Addressing MEPs, he said Mr Johnson should “take an example” from the 93-year-old monarch who has allowed Harry and Meghan’s wish to create a new lift, in which they will divide their time between Britain and Canada in a transition period. Mr Verhofstadt said: “I ask a bit of flexibility from Prime Minister Johnson. Maybe he can take an example from the Queen.
“The Queen yesterday gave a transition period to leave to Harry and Meghan. So maybe some flexibility on the side of Mr Johnson could also be very useful.”
Mr Johnson has warned Brussels that he is not willing to extend the so-called Brexit transition period, under which the UK continues to follow EU rules, beyond the end of the year.
The Prime Minister told Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission’s president, that Britons want the trade negotiations to be wrapped up by December 2020 during a recent meeting.
Meanwhile Mr Verhofstadt also warned that the EU Parliament is standing ready to reject a future British deal if there are concerns about how the country treats EU citizens.
He said: “I cannot imagine the EU will agree to any free trade deal if there are outstanding concerns about the treatment of EU citizens in the UK.”
The former Belgian prime minister said there are fears surrounding the Government’s implementation of the registration system and monitoring of European citizens.
He called on the Government abandon its settled status scheme to automatically recognise citizens rights.