Swindon campaigners call for extension to Brexit transition due to coronavirus crisis

CAMPAIGNERS are urging the government to extend the Brexit transition period amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Swindon for Europe members are sending letters to MPs Justin Tomlinson and Robert Buckland in a bidto try to change the transition deadline, which is set for the end of this year.

Covid-19 has forced countries across Europe to impose a strict lockdown to halt the spread of the virus.

Member Sam Hollings said: “We need the extra time because it was already going to be very tight for time.

“We will lose time because our lead negotiators on both sides are sick. The government is distracted with Covid-19 pandemic and the civil service is also dealing with that, so what would have been difficult has now become impossible, surely.”

Sam said the extension could help the UK get a good deal with the European Union.

He added: “If we have another pandemic, which seems possible, having a good trading relationship with our nearest neighbours could prove crucial.

“Think about our empty supermarkets, and that is with overnight product delivery of food from the continent.

“What if we ended up with delays because they didn’t finish that bit of the trade deal?

“Can you imagine how bad the supermarkets might have been? The same goes for medicines of which get substantial amounts from the continent. Of course, we can buy it from elsewhere, but it can’t get here from China overnight.

“As far as the impact of sending letters, it’s simply one of the avenues open to us,” Sam said. “We will also be trying to raise the profile of this with other political parties and generally get this up the agenda.

“It’s not blocking Brexit to do it properly, to take account of the world we find ourselves in now and so what previously unthinkable.”

But PM Boris Johnson has insisted he will not extend the transition period. The government has until June to ask for an extension beyond this year.

South Swindon MP Mr Buckland told the Adver: “We have now left the EU and are in a transition period. As enshrined in law, this will end on December 31. The structure of negotiations with the EU may need to change to reflect the current situation.We’re in regular contact with the EU and both sides are fully committed to the negotiations.

“There is no need for an extension which would simply delay the moment we recover economic and political independence as voted for by the people for Swindon and Britain.”



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