Westminster opposition parties are pushing ahead with plans to force a vote on extending the Brexit transition period.
Opposition MPs have written to Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg requesting a vote on new legislation that would extend the transition period.
Labour, the Liberals Democrats, the SNP and other parties submitted a draft bill to repeal that the current section of the EU Withdrawal Bill that prevents ministers from requesting an extension by the end of June.
In the letter, Layla Moran (Lib Dems), Clive Lewis (Labour), Caroline Lucas (Green party), Tommy Sheppard (SNP), and Liz Saville Roberts (Plaid Cymru) said evading calls to extend the Brexit transition period would be tantamount to ‘turning a deaf ear to the public’ at a time of ‘national crisis’.
They argued that a lot has changed since the first Brexit vote in January and that the coronavirus and a tidal-wave change in opinion in favour of an extension warranted a new vote on the matter.
‘The UK has experienced the devastating impact of coronavirus, causing over 41,000 deaths, a record fall in GDP and unprecedented restrictions to our daily lives,’ they wrote.
‘None of us could have predicted then the scale of the damage to the country that would be caused by this pandemic.
‘In light of this dramatic change in circumstances, it is only right that parliament should be given the chance to make its voice heard again on this critical issue. Failure to do so would be to turn a deaf ear to the public at a time of national crisis.’
Commenting on the issue, Lib Dems leadership hopeful Layla Moran warned that it was not ‘too late’ for an extension.
She said: ‘A no deal Brexit at the end of this year would strike a devastating blow to people’s livelihoods, businesses and the NHS just as we begin to turn the corner from the coronavirus.
‘It’s not too late to stop this monumental act of national self-harm in its tracks and agree to an extension.
‘MPs have not been consulted on Brexit since before the pandemic hit in January. Given the scale of the damage done by coronavirus and the significant public support for an extension, parliament must now be given a say.’