Britain’s chief negotiator David Frost confirms the UK government will not cave into EU and Remainer demands to extend the transition period. The need to keep hold of Britain’s £39 billion has been underlined by the cost of handling coronavirus especially the £250 billion rescue package announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to protect jobs and businesses.
There are concerns that the EU is deliberately briefing that the transition period will need to be extended. At the same time, Michel Barnier’s negotiation team drags its feet to attempt and force a delay in Britain using EU rules.
North West Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen stated: “Circumstances have changed. The UK taxpayer now has a major bill to pick up to pay for the coronavirus aftermath. “We cannot afford to pay huge sums of money to a dysfunctional organisation which we are no longer part of. “The government needs to look at this again, particularly if the EU fails to conclude an acceptable trade deal with us, we should be paying nothing.”
Wellingborough MP Peter Bone pointed out that talks can be done over video conferencing and there was no need. He explained: “Given that Britain has paid the EU around £210 billion already they should be paying us not us them. “I never agreed that we should pay them £39 billion. “If the EU itself does not act in good faith and agree on a sensible proper free trade deal, then we should rethink the money we promised to pay in the Withdrawal Agreement.”
“The government has stated it will pay what’s due, but we shouldn’t pay a cent more.” The chairman of the European Research Group of Tory MPs, Mark Francois, said that the £39 billion was a commitment in the Withdrawal Agreement so would be hard to reverse. But he cautioned that by trying to extend the transition period Brussels tried to raise payments. He explained: “The Prime Minister’s Chief Negotiator, David Frost, has emphatically ruled out any extension of the transition period, in which he has our full support. Also, extending the transition may cost billions more in extra payments into the EU, which we and that I am certain that the majority of the nation would strongly oppose.”
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