UK Must Hit Pause on Brexit Talks and Seek Transition Extension

All effort must focus on tackling The Coronavirus Pandemic and supporting citizens.

The SNP’s Shadow Brexit spokesperson (pictured) has called on the UK government to “hit pause” on Brexit negotiations and to immediately seek an extension to the transition period, so that all resources and efforts can be focused on tackling the coronavirus pandemic and protecting citizens.

The call comes as the SNP continues to pressure the Chancellor to protect people’s livelihoods by using the tax and welfare system to give everyone a guaranteed basic income – with the latest package of support for the self-employed falling short of the measures needed.

It also follows reports that the next round of planned Brexit negotiations have stalled as the UK government has been unable to table proposals for both sides to work on.

Commenting, Dr Philippa Whitford MP said:

“The COVID-19 outbreak has gripped us all – regardless of politics or borders – and it is vital that governments here in the UK and abroad work collaboratively to combat the pandemic.

“Businesses, individuals and households across the UK are already under intense pressure and financial strain in dealing with the crisis – with many losing their incomes and a significant number of businesses facing an uncertain future.

“It is impossible for businesses and others to prepare for life outside the EU while coping with the impact of the COVID-19 crisis at the same time, and many might struggle to survive the second blow of a hard Brexit at the end of this year.

“Continuing talks and hurtling towards the transition period deadline would be irresponsible and an act of economic and social self-harm.

“It is now vital that the UK government hits pause on all Brexit negotiations and immediately seeks an extension to the transition period to remove the uncertainty and instability.

“The SNP Scottish Government made the difficult but responsible decision to pause work on preparing for an independence referendum this year.

“The UK government must now mirror that step so that we can focus on protecting our citizens and delivering financial support to everyone in society.”