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SNP calls for delay

Johnson urged to accept Barnier’s Brexit offer

Michel Barnier

Michel Barnier: ‘open to an extension’

EU negotiator Michael Barnier has stated that the European Union remains open to extending the Brexit transition period as the continent battles with the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Barnier has offered an extension of up to one or two years, adding that the EU has always said it “remains open on this matter.”

The SNP has called on Boris Johnson to accept the offer as the country battles to protect jobs and the economy.

In a letter to the Westminster leaders of the SNP, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru, SDLP, Green Party and Alliance Party this morning, the EU’s chief negotiator confirmed his position.

However, with just a month left until the deadline Mr Barnier warned that “any extension decision has to be taken by the joint committee before 1 July”.

It would mean the UK could crash out of the EU if Mr Johnson refuses to agree an extension by the end of June. 

Yesterday, EU officials warned there was a risk of ‘stalemate’ due to the lack of progress in the negotiations.

Polls from YouGov, Panelbase and Focaldata show the majority of people support an extension. A poll by Focaldata, published on 15 May, found 83% of people in Scotland and 77% across Britain say the UK government should agree to an extension to the transition period.

SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford said: “Boris Johnson must finally put his responsibilities to jobs, living standards and the economy first – and urgently agree the two-year extension on offer to the transition period.

There is just a month left to agree an extension to prevent the UK crashing out with a devastating bad deal

– Ian Blackford, SNP

“It would be madness to pile a Brexit crisis on top of the coronavirus crisis we already face – with unemployment soaring, businesses shedding jobs, and many struggling to survive.

“Time is running out. There is just a month left to agree an extension to prevent the UK crashing out with a devastating bad deal or a catastrophic No-Deal. 

“If the Prime Minister fails to agree an extension he will be responsible for every job lost, every income slashed, and every business that goes under as a result of his bad Brexit deal.”

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