DUP’s Sammy Wilson, tackles SDLP in Northern Ireland, after they blame coronavirus for their latest attempt to push for an extension.

There’s a debate to take place calling for the UK government to extend the transition period, using the coronavirus pandemic as the core excuse. The said debate is a proposal submitted by the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) who’s Brexit spokesperson Matthew O’Toole said Northern Ireland has yet to have a “purposeful debate on Brexit”.
However, Sammy Wilson, the Brexit spokesperson for the DUP, dismissed the debate saying it won’t matter because Westminster will decide whether or not to extend Brexit. Mr Wilson slammed the SDLP proposal calling it “despicable” for “trying to use the health crisis as a means to pursue their political agenda on Europe”. 
“What I find particularly despicable is that they are trying to use the health crisis that we are facing as a means to pursue their political agenda on Europe.   
“Secondly, not only is it a political move, but it is also an illogical move.  
“What do you gain by delaying? The most urgency you put into this, the more likely it is that you will get the EU to move in the negotiations.” 
The MP for East Antrim explained how the EU is currently facing “massive issues” due to the fallout of the virus and how other nations are “worried by how” coronavirus was handled. 
He continued: “Clearly there are massive issues that the EU now has to face with the fallout from the virus, the impact that it’s having on economies across Europe, the fact that they now find themselves in a situation where some of the different countries are concerned by the way coronavirus has been handled by the EU.   
“The last thing they need is for prolonged Brexit negotiations to distract their attention from the problems they have to deal with.   
“That is a massive opportunity for the government to secure a deal that ensures trade will continue tariff-free.” 
However, Mr O’Toole considers the debate will make it possible for all members of the Assembly to have the opportunity to encourage an extension period. 
He said: “Whether you’re a fierce opponent of Brexit or its greatest cheerleader, it’s plain to see that no administration on these islands has the bandwidth to conclude these negotiations while attempting to manage the most significant public health crisis in living memory.   
“It simply cannot be done.   
“The motion we have proposed in the Assembly seeks to give all parties the opportunity to support a call for an extension to the transition period in the best interests of people, businesses and communities in Northern Ireland.” 
The UK formally left the EU on January 31 2020; this triggered the transition agreement to kick in. The government has until the end of the year to negotiate a deal or begin 2021 on a WTO agreement, which some businesses say could cause costly delays and confusion at borders. 
Problems surrounding border control in Northern Ireland were reignited last month. In a discussion last week, Britain said it saw no need for new customs infrastructure together with Northern Ireland as it unveiled new proposals for border management with the province. The EU claims that the Northern Ireland protocol necessitates customs checks and controls on some goods coming from mainland Britain into the province in case they were headed farther into Ireland and the bloc’s single sector. 

Mr Johnson has said, that although the authorities will comply with the duties set out in the protocol, it does not observe that entailing new tests on products, stating it already complies with requirements for live animals and agrifoods. But officials say there will have to be some extra checkpoints, and the EU has become more and more critical of London’s refusal to spell out how they would take care of the border.

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