Extend the Transition

Posted on 2nd April, 2020





With the Coronavirus crisis in the UK deepening by the hour; a rising death toll, and with all over 70’s being warned that they will be required to self isolate at home for four months, it is time for the Prime Minister and his Government to provide the leadership and reassurance the country desperately needs.


For Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Jacob Rees Mogg and others in the Conservative party to continue to act as if trade negotiations with the European Union can proceed as normal, defies belief.  Are they unaware that Italy, Spain and now France are in lockdown? Do they seriously still expect that anyone in the EU will be available to discuss what the UK wants or does not want in its future relationship with the EU?


 A mere six weeks after the the flag waving and singing of Rule Britannia echoed round Parliament Square on January 31st, the mood is very different. The real implications of Brexit are now inescapable .


The Prime Minister’s haste to exit the EMA (European Medicines Agency) on December 30th at the end of this year  now look ill-advised. Isolation from the EMA has implications for the UK’s rapid access to vaccines and the cost of such items .The effects of Covid-19 on the UK economy are bleak and to risk further economic damage with a hasty, poorly organised exit from the EU is completely irresponsible .


To retain any respect, the Prime Minister must now climb down  and take swift action to amend his self- imposed legislation designed to prevent the Government requesting the EU for an extension to trade negotiations.  He must do this not a minute later than June 30th 2020 and hope that the EU will be sympathetic to our plight .

Finally unless Boris Johnson wishes to go down in history as the man who wrecked the UK economy ,he must accept that Covid-19 will itself be likely to cause a recession and guard against inflicting further economic misery on the nation. How long it will be until it will be possible to restart trade talks  is impossible to predict. Whenever the time comes the Prime Minister and his Government bear a heavy burden of responsibility to honour the promises they made to negotiate the best possible trading relationship with the EU noting that this did not include a no-deal Brexit !


Jill Natusch, Sidmouth Herald, March 20th 2020


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