Scottish government calls for two-year extension to Brexit

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (R) pose for a photograph before tal...

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (R) pose for a photograph before talks at Bute House in Edinburgh. (Photograph: DUNCAN MCGLYNN/AFP via Getty Images) - Credit: AFP via Getty Images

The Scottish government has called for a two-year extension to the Brexit transition period due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Mike Rusell, the constitution secretary is urging the UK government to attend a joint meeting involving all ministers from the four nations to discuss the approach to Brexit during the Covid-19 outbreak.

He wants the a 'maximum' two-year extension to the transition period to allow for an appropriate amount of time to 'rethink' the future relationship between the UK and EU.

Russell said that Scotland 'cannot afford the double hit of Covid-19 and the growing likelihood of a no-deal or at best a hard Brexit deal' at the end of the year.

He said: 'Instead of its reckless decision to pursue a hard Brexit in the middle of this unprecedented crisis, the UK government should today be asking the EU for the maximum two-year extension to the transition period.


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'The benefits of co-ordinated European action have never been clearer. An extended transition will keep the UK as close as possible to the EU and provide an opportunity to rethink the future relationship.

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'The UK government is pressing ahead with negotiations without properly involving the Scottish government or taking account of our views.'

He continued: 'The Scottish economy cannot afford the double hit of Covid-19 and the growing likelihood of a no-deal or at best a hard Brexit deal in less than nine months' time.

'The voices of all four UK nations must be heard and I am therefore calling for an urgent meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee (European Negotiations), which has the task of overseeing negotiations.

'Clearly if it does not meet, it cannot oversee.'

It comes as a poll revealed that two-thirds of people would like to see a 'long' extension to the transition period to allow for the government to focus on tackling the coronavirus outbreak.

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