SNP Call on Boris Johnson to extend transition period using coved-19 for the reason.



ENVIRONMENT Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has stepped up calls for Boris Johnson to halt his Brexit strategies to make sure all of the public resources can be spent battling the effects of the coronavirus.

Her call came just days after Scotland’s Constitutional Affairs Secretary Michael Russell advocated the EU/UK transition interval to be extended by the Prime Minister in light of the pandemic.

He also made the plea after the Scottish authorities announced planning for another liberty referendum this year had been paused.

Cunningham spoke for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs meeting, being hosted by the Government by video conference.

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She explained: “This is a really unprecedented and distressing period for the entire nation. All authorities resource that is accessible has to be put towards diluting its consequences on every region of society that is Scottish and tackling Covid-19.

“In this circumstance, the Scottish police believes that a Brexit Scotland didn’t vote and doesn’t need, is an undesirable and unnecessary diversion. Continuing to plough on could severely damage our ability to tackle a virus that threatens lives and livelihoods across these islands.”

She added: “There is considerable scope to discuss the pressures of Covid-19 at the meeting, something which is very much welcome. However, the UK Government has decided to press on with departing the EU.

“A considerable quantity of work is required to ensure this can be done in such a manner that minimises the effect on the market, individuals and the environment but the tools needed for this action ought to be dedicated to dealing with the present crisis. Furthermore, parliamentary timetabling can not physically adapt the work required to move forward the legislation that is required.

“We are calling on the UK Defra [Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] Secretary of State to make the situation in the UK Cabinet to stop current Brexit negotiations, which would allow us to refocus these Inter-Ministerial Groups fully to co-ordinating and liaising across the four nations on our collective response to Covid-19.”

Last week Johnson was accused of “putting his head in the sand” over the danger posed by the coronavirus outbreak into some Brexit deal, after stating he has no intention of stretching talks with the EU.

The Prime Minister is coming under growing pressure to ditch his self-imposed deadline of December 31 to reach a trade agreement or take Britain to a No-Deal Brexit on World Trade Organisation terms that are Integral. After the next round of talks, due to take place in London was cancelled due to the health emergency on each side of the Channel many in Brussels are anticipating a climbdown.

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Michel Barnier, 69, who was directing the trade discussions for the Brussels side, tested positive last week. After showing symptoms of the illness, the UK’s chief negotiator with Brussels went. David Frost, 55, who is tasked with procuring a trade deal has shown signs of the virus. The EU has made clear it might accept a request for an expansion to the 11-month negotiation procedure, which was regarded as extremely tight even before Covid-19 struck Europe.

But asked in a Downing Street press conference whether he’d seek an extension past the end of 2020, Johnson responded: “It’s not a subject that is being regularly discussed, I can tell you, in Downing Street right now.

“And we are getting on with it. There is legislation in place that I don’t have any intention of changing.”

The exact time of 11pm on New Year’s Eve this year is enshrined in law at the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act passed by parliament earlier this season.

Russell asked the UK Government to similarly pause its Brexit discussions with the EU for six weeks and set the indyref2 decision in a letter to Cabinet office minister Michael Gove.

Russell wrote: “Due to the crisis, the Scottish Government has paused work on preparing for an independence referendum this year… that will permit us to concentrate all available source on current and future demands in what is an unprecedented set of circumstances.

“We would strongly suggest to the UK Government the time has come for an equivalent action by you personally concerning the Brexit process and would ask you to institute a pause to EU/UK discussions for at least six months,” he further added


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