Boris refuses SNP demands calling for a 2 year extension on EU negotiations

Mike Russell, the Scottish Government’s ministry secretary, said Scotland could not take the “double hit” of leaving the European Union along with the aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

He urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to extend the transition period for two years as he called to the “voices of all four UK nations” to be heard.

He said: “Instead of its reckless decision to pursue a hard Brexit in the middle of this unprecedented crisis, the UK Government should today be asking the EU for the maximum two-year extension to the transition period. “The benefits of co-ordinated European action have never been clearer. An extended transition will keep the UK as close as possible to the EU and provide an opportunity to rethink the future relationship. 

“The UK Government is pressing ahead with negotiations without properly involving the Scottish Government or taking account of our views.”

However, Downing Street has remained defiant, denying there will be a U-turn in Brexit policy. Mr Johnson has ruled out delaying the date when Brexit would finally take effect following Britain’s 2016 vote to leave and said London was also ready to withdraw from its current cooperation accords by the end of the year without a new deal.

Mr Johnson is under pressure to seek an extension of the transition period beyond December 31 2020. Three separate weeks of talks have been agreed, with the first week of discussions taking place today. The remainder will commence on May 11 and June 1, the BBC reports. The talks come after several cancelled face to face discussions because of the COVID-19 outbreak; however, meetings will take place over videoconference.

Mr Russell urged the Prime Minister to collaborate with all four UK countries on its strategy to Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.
He added: “The Scottish economy cannot afford the double hit of COVID-19 and the growing likelihood of a no-deal or at best a hard Brexit deal in less than nine months. “The voices of all four UK nations must be heard, and I am therefore calling for an urgent meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee (European Negotiations), which has the task of overseeing negotiations.

“Clearly, if it does not meet, it cannot oversee.”

However, a Downing Street spokeswoman said the Government had “no intention” of changing Britain’s departure date. She said: “Our top priority as a Government is to slow the spread of the coronavirus, protect the NHS and keep people safe – we are working around the clock to do so, with all four nations together providing unprecedented financial support for businesses, workers and the self-employed. “We remain fully committed to the negotiations and the second round is taking place by video conference this week. “The transition period ends on December 31 2020, as enshrined in UK law, which the Prime Minister has made clear he has no intention of changing.”

📣 What’re your thoughts? Have your say.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.