We write regarding the conclusions of the latest round of negotiations between the UK and EU and express our deep concern at the lack of progress.
We are now only a matter of weeks away from the final round of talks which are due to convene on June 1st. This ultimate set of negotiations will significantly inform the joint summit at which a decision will be made on whether ‘sufficient progress’ has been achieved and whether to extend the transition period beyond 31st December 2020.
We note with deep concern warnings on the lack of progress in the negotiations thus far. The clock is ticking, and crucial choices are mounting.
The UK Government’s current position, that it intends to ‘double down’ on its end of year deadline, means we now contemplate the real threat of simultaneously facing a devastating no-deal exit and the worst health crisis in a century. For the UK, leaving the EU with a bad deal – or no deal – this year would be catastrophic for many businesses already struggling to survive. With only weeks left, it is critical that this scenario does not come to pass.
We write to advise you of significant opposition to the UK Government’s extreme position amongst the business community, the general public and elected representatives. Extensive polling across the UK confirms this to be the case. It is equally important to note that the Scottish and Welsh Governments, as well as the majority of political parties in the Northern Ireland Executive, have made clear their position that an extension of the transition is now a necessity.
A consensus is taking shape and we hope the UK Government will soon recognise reality. It is now in all of our common interests to agree and secure an extension to the transition period. This will enable these detailed and defining negotiations to be conducted at a time when, we hope, the efforts of national governments and the European Union will not be engaged solely with dealing with the dreadful Covid-19 epidemic.
We hope and trust that the European Union will look favourably upon a request for an extension and would urge you to prioritise this issue in the final round of negotiations.
Yours sincerely, Ian Blackford MP, SNP, Ed Davey MP, Liberal Democrat party, Liz Saville Roberts MP, Plaid Cymru, Colum Eastwood MP, Social Democratic and Labour Party, Caroline Lucas MP, Green Party, Stephen Farry MP, Alliance Party
YouGov poll (8 April 2020) – https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/survey-results/daily/2020/04/08/ad558/1
Panelbase poll for the Sunday Times (24-26 March 2020) – https://www.drg.global/wp-content/uploads/ST-Tables-for-publication-260320-v2.pdf
Focaldata poll (7th-9th April) – https://www.bestforbritain.org/poll_brits_want_long_brexit_extension_to_deal_with_coronavirus_-_including_49_of_leave_voters
Focaldata poll (20-23rd March 2020) – https://www.bestforbritain.org/poll_brits_want_brexit_transition_extension
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0