Scotland’s first minister has called on Boris Johnson to extend the Brexit transition period.
Nicola Sturgeon took to Twitter after talks between the UK and EU failed to secure a breakthrough, and as European countries started to ban travel to the UK due to Covid-19.
The SNP politician said that the coronavirus now “our 100% attention”.
She tweeted: “It’s now imperative that PM seeks an agreement to extend the Brexit transition period.
“The new Covid strain – & the various implications of it – means we face a profoundly serious situation, & it demands our 100% attention.”
“It would be unconscionable to compound it with Brexit.”
Boris Johnson will hold crisis talks with ministers after France banned lorries carrying freight from the UK and countries around the world ended flights amid fears over the new mutant coronavirus strain.
The prime minister will chair a meeting of the government’s Cobra civil contingencies committee on Monday amid warnings of “significant disruption” around the Channel ports in Kent.
Hauliers were urged to stay away from the area amid warnings of potential problems as the end of the Brexit transition period looms on December 31.
Andrew Opie, the British Retail Consortium’s director of food and sustainability, said any “prolonged” disruption would be a problem in the run-up to the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31.
“While goods can enter from France, few haulage firms will be willing to send trucks and drivers across to the UK without a guarantee they can return to the EU in a timely manner,” he said.
“This is a key supply route for fresh produce at this time of year.
“We urge the UK government and the EU to find a pragmatic solution to this as soon as possible, to prevent disruption for consumers.
“Retailers have stocked up on goods ahead of Christmas which should prevent immediate problems.
“However, any prolonged closure of the French border would be a problem as the UK enters the final weeks before the transition ends on December 31.”