Campaigners are embarking on a fresh bid to get the Brexit transition period extended during the continuation of the Covid-19 crisis.
More than ten thousand have already signed a petition requesting an extension, which would also look to hold a referendum on any trade deal agreed with the EU, meaning the government must respond.
It comes as talks between the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and government sherpa David Frost continue to struggle.
The petition text reads: “During the one-year extension, the UK government should conclude negotiations and then conduct a second referendum when the UK public can assent or reject the agreed terms.
“Only by conducting a second referendum on any agreed UK-EU relationship can the UK public truly have its say.
“A rejection of the agreed future trading relationship would mean that the UK government must commit to seeking a further extension(s) of the transition period, followed by negotiation on re-entry to the EU.”
Campaigner Bob Downie said the scale of the coronavirus meant it was time the UK government “take a step back from the Brexit negotiations and take a breather”.
Those supporting the petition includes pro-EU campaigner AC Grayling, who tweeted: “As a matter of urgency the UK must seek an extension of the transition period from our EU friends.
“For the UK this is existential. It probably won’t matter to the Downing Sttreet lot, but it would be of help to our EU friends not to have a crippled sinking country 20 miles offshore.”