The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has criticised UK negotiator David Frost’s decision to rule out a delay to the transition period, Mr Khan believes the EU needs to recover from coronavirus first.
The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator said an extension to the transition period would not be requested or accepted if the EU was to request one.
Posted on social media MR Frost wrote: “As we prepare for the next Rounds of negotiations, I want to reiterate the Government’s position on the transition period created following our withdrawal from the EU.
“Transition ends on 31 December this year.
“We will not ask to extend it. If the EU asks we will say no. ½”
Extending would simply prolong negotiations, create even more uncertainty, leave us liable to pay more to the EU in future, and keep us bound by evolving EU laws at a time when we need to control our own affairs. In short, it is not in the UK’s interest to extend. 2/2
— David Frost (@DavidGHFrost) April 16, 2020
He continued in a follow up writing: “Extending would simply prolong negotiations, create even more uncertainty, leave us liable to pay more to the EU in future, and keep us bound by evolving EU laws at a time when we need to control our own affairs. In short, it is not in the UK’s interest to extend. 2/2”
The London Mayor voiced his disagreement with the government’s decision to carry on the negotiations, he said: “I think the Government is putting dogma ahead of the national interest.
“I think no one anticipated when they voted for Brexit that the key negotiations would fall at a time when all governments are rightly focussed on fighting a global pandemic.
“The last thing we need as we try to make our way back from the devastation that’s been wrecked by coronavirus is more chaos and uncertainty.
“I’d urge the Government to put political ideology aside and pursue the pragmatic route. That means to get an extension so we and our European partners can focus on recovering from COVID-19, rather than also having to deal with a no-deal Brexit.
He continued: “The whole bandwidth of Government is focussed on this, as it should be. The idea you’ve got some slack in the system for civil servants to work on a deal is not really realistic. And neither does the EU.
“We’ve had thousands of people losing their lives – and thousands of more people will lose their lives.
“We’ve got a situation where the OBR is predicting a 30 per cent drop in our GDP and the idea we could, at the same time, be planning for a no-deal Brexit, it beggars belief.
“And I’m angry that David Frost and the Government are embarking down this road when we’re trying to deal with COVID-19.”
Under the terms of the withdrawal agreement the transition, during which the UK continues to follow EU single market rules is due to end at the end of the year. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly insisted he will not seek an extension, passing legislation preventing the Government from asking for one.
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This content was sourced from Unity News Network.