The European Union‘s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has written to UK opposition party leaders to say Brussels is open to the idea of an extension to the transition period by up to two years. But this was immediately slapped down by both Boris Johnson and Mr Barnier’s UK counterpart David Frost, who continue to insist a trade deal is signed before the end of the transition period on December 31. However, a group of Remain ministers, led by Liberal Democrat acting co-leader Sir Ed Davey, are trying to squeeze a Bill through Parliament in a last-ditch and desperate attempt to delay Brexit by up to two years.
The second reading of this Bill is due to take place on June 12 – just over two weeks before Britain can request an extension to the transition period.
But Dehenna Davison, the Conservative MP for Bishop Auckland elected to the seat in December’s general election, has become the latest Tory minister to shut down the plot from Remainers.
In a post on Twitter, she pointed towards text in the Conservative manifesto that stated: “We will negotiate a trade agreement next year – one that will strengthen our Union – and we will not extend the implementation period beyond December 2020.
“In parallel, we will legislate to ensure high standards of workers’ rights, environmental protection and consumer rights.”
Brexit news: A Tory MP has torn apart a plot from Remainers to extend the transition period
Brexit news: Miuchel Barnier said the EU is open to the idea of a delay to the transition period
The Bishop Auckland MP said she had received several requests for her to support an extension to the UK’s transition period with the EU and to “delay Brexit”.
But Ms Davison tweeted: “A lot of people have emailed asking me to support an extension to our EU transition period – in other words, to delay Brexit.
“Many of these emails have come from a pro-EU campaign group.
“In December, I was elected in Bishop Auckland on this manifesto, so the answer is no.”
Brexit news: Dehenna Davison shut down a plot from Remainers to extend the transition period
The post-Brexit trade talks between the UK and EU began in March, but quickly descended into chaos as the two sides traded brutal blows over each other’s negotiating strategy and demands being made in any subsequent agreement.
London and Brussels are at odds over several key areas, such as the level playing field, state aid, tax and access to the single market all still remain unresolved – with no solution in sight.
Boris Johnson is insisting a trade deal must be signed with the EU before the end of the transition period on December 31, a move that has infuriated leading EU figures, including Mr Barnier and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
The next round of virtual trade talks began on Monday and ahead of that, Mr Frost warned the EU needs to dramatically change its stance in negotiations and relent on a number of areas if further progress is to be made.
David Davis lashes out at ‘deaf’ EU – ‘We’ll not be under Brussels!’ [COMMENT]
Brexit trade talks latest: EU warned against ‘nuclear option’ [ANALYSIS]
How Iain Duncan Smith’s fumed at ‘moaning’ broadcaster [INSIGHT]
Brexit news: Boris Johnson has insisted he wants a trade deal signed before the end of the transition period
Brexit news; David Frost issued a warning to the EU ahead of the latest round of trade talks
Mr Barnier wrote to the Westminster leaders of the SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, SDLP, Green Party and Alliance Party, and said the option of an extension to the transition period is available if the UK wants it.
These party leaders had previously written to him on May 15 calling for a two-year extension to be agreed between the UK and EU.
But the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost insisted to MPs the UK will not be extending the Brexit transition period beyond the end of this year.
Brexit news: The transition period is due to end on December 31
Speaking before a Commons committee on the future relationship with the EU following recent negotiations, he said: “That is the firm policy of the Government that we will not extend transition period and if asked we would not agree to it,” he said.
“And, I take that as a given.
“I think we have always put a lot of emphasis on economic and political freedom at the end of this year and on avoiding ongoing significant payments into the EU budget.
“And, of course, those things are accomplished by ending the transition period at the end of the year.”
Published at Tue, 02 Jun 2020 17:39:00 +0000