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Transition Period: Extension

Cabinet Office – in the House of Commons on 4th May 2020.

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Photo of Layla Moran Layla Moran Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education)

What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on a potential extension to the transition period.

Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

As I think Members will appreciate given previous exchanges, the Government will not be extending the transition period. Indeed, Parliament has legislated to prevent Ministers from agreeing to such an extension. The Government will therefore continue to negotiate a new fair trade deal with the EU, the process of which will conclude by the end of December.

Photo of Layla Moran Layla Moran Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education)

A YouGov poll released this weekend showed that half the population now think that the transition period should be extended, versus 35% who think the Government should press ahead. The public know that kicking the economy when it is down, especially with a no-deal Brexit on top of a covid crash, is in no one’s best interests. The right hon. Gentleman said just now that there was a deal, but he knows full well that that is the withdrawal agreement and not the future deal that will determine the trade relationship. No deal is still on the table, so will the Government consider asking for even a short extension to avoid a no-deal Brexit, or are they intent on putting ideology before pragmatism?

Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

This Government always put pragmatism and the interests of the British people first. The hon. Lady mentioned a YouGov poll. There was another poll, on 12 December last year; it was called a general election, and my right hon. Friend Boris Johnson secured a majority in order to take this country out of the European Union on the basis of the deal that he negotiated. The Liberal Democrats took part in that poll. I cannot recall exactly how well they did, but it certainly the case that they were not entrusted by the British people with the discharge of policy on our relationship with the EU.