Rees-Mogg: ‘Absolutely no need’ to extend Brexit transition period over coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 15:29 12 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:29 12 March 2020

Jacob Rees-Mogg in the House of Commons. Photograph: Parliament TV.

Jacob Rees-Mogg in the House of Commons. Photograph: Parliament TV.

Archant

Coronavirus is not a reason to extend the Brexit transition period, Jacob Rees-Mogg has claimed.

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Commons leader Rees-Mogg was responding to comments from a Labour MPover the coronavirus outbreak.

Labour's Justin Madders said that it was 'absolutely right that government and businesses' attention at the moment is focused on dealing with the coronavirus outbreak'.

Madders continued: 'But I do wonder whether there is going to be sufficient capacity in the system to finalise our new trading arrangements with the EU.

'So I ask him in all sincerity whether in these circumstances it is appropriate to begin considering an extension to the transition period?'


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Rees-Mogg insisted: 'There is absolutely no need to extend the transition period.'

The UK and European Union are in discussions about contingency measures for the next round of talks on a post-Brexit trade deal, which are scheduled for March 18, should they be forced to change plans as a result of coronavirus.

The prime minister's spokesman said: 'Talks remain scheduled to go ahead next week but we will keep the situation under review and will be guided by scientific advice.

'There will be a joint UK-EU decision on how to proceed with the round. We are looking at contingency plans for the talks in the event that these become necessary and we remain in contact with EU officials.'

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