Cross Party Leaders Call for Brexit Transition Period Extension

Letter to Barnier says move key to protect economy amid coronavirus pandemic.

Opposition leaders have made a joint call for the UK government and EU to agree a two-year extension to the Brexit transition period.

In a letter to Michel Barnier, the Westminster leaders of the SNP, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru, SDLP, Greens, and Alliance Party affirmed their support for an extension to protect the economy in the face of the coronavirus crisis.

Under the Withdrawal Agreement, an extension has to be agreed by the end of next month.

The call from the six parties from every nation of the UK, follows a series of polls by YouGov, Panelbase and Focaldata showing the majority of people support an extension.

A poll by Focaldata published on Friday found eighty-three per cent (83%) of people in Scotland and seventy-seven per cent (77%) across Britain say the government should agree to an extension to the transition period.

Commenting, SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP said:

“Time is running out until we hit the hard Brexit deadline.

“It is vital that the Tory government does the only responsible thing and accepts a two-year extension to the transition period.

“Crashing out with a bad deal or no deal in the middle of the coronavirus crisis, would deal a double hammer blow to the economy just when we will need all the help we can get to save jobs, businesses and living standards.

“It increasingly appears the Tory government is intent on taking Scotland and the UK down the path of a devastating no-deal.

“That would be beyond reckless.

“The coronavirus economic crash is the worst in living memory.

“People and businesses are already struggling to get by.

“The Tory government must put its responsibilities to the economy ahead of its Brexit obsession.

“Polls consistently show that the overwhelming majority of people in Scotland and across the UK want to see an extension to the Brexit transition period – and there is growing consensus across political parties.

“It’s time for the UK government to act.”