Downing Street has said that Boris Johnson will not seek any extension to the Brexit transition period if he is returned to No 10 in the general election – despite a Tory minister agreeing no deal has been done in just ten months.
Under the prime minister’s proposed deal with Brussels, the UK will continue to follow EU rules after it has left the bloc until the end of 2020 to allow the two sides to negotiate a new trade deal.
The prime minister’s official spokesman said the government would not be seeking any extension to that as Johnson believed there was sufficient time to get a trade deal.
“The government will not be extending the transition period. The prime minister believes that we will have a good trade deal agreed with the EU by December 2020,” the spokesman said.
“The Brexit process has been going on for long enough.”
But Therese Coffey, a pensions minister, opened the door to extending the transition period past 2020 after Sky News presenter Kay Burley pointed out no country has managed to do a deal in ten months.
“We’re starting off with the same rules, the same tariffs, it should be straight forward to try and agree that deal.
“Nothing is ever straight forward, I think we’ve learned that from the last three years but it can be more straight forward if Boris Johnson is in charge with a majority Conservative government so we can actually get on with Brexit”.
Asked if we could extend the transition period, she said: “I think it’s fair to say in with the Withdrawal Agreement that there is this option, but I don’t see any reason why we need to do that”.