Mike Russell, the Scottish government’s constitution secretary has urged Boris Johnson to U-turn over his “reckless decision” and delay Brexit for two years.
Russel said Scotland cannot afford the “double hit” of Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic and is urging Johnson to extend the transition period to the maximum of two years.
Russel 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.
“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.
“The UK government is pressing ahead with negotiations without properly involving the Scottish government or taking account of our views.”
He added, “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.”
Downing Street remains defiant and will not reverse any decision over Brexit.
Downing Street spokeswoman said, “Our top priority as a government is to slow the spread of the coronavirus, protect the NHS and keep people safe, we are working around the clock to do so, with all four nations together providing unprecedented financial support for businesses, workers and the self-employed.
“We remain fully committed to the negotiations and the second round is taking place by video conference this week.
“The transition period ends on 31 December 2020, as enshrined in UK law, which the Prime Minister has made clear he has no intention of changing.”
Johnson has been urged by senior Tory MPs to tear up the £39bn divorce bill to the EU if they fail to agree a 2020 trade deal.
David Frost the governments chief Brexit negotiator confirmed that the government will not cave in to demands from Brussels.
MPs are pushing for stronger negotiations and the UK must keep hold of the £39bn divorce bill and put that to deal with coronavirus.
The French President Emmanuel Macron has warned the European Union faces collapse unless Brussels comes to the aid of the economies.
Macron insists Brussels have “no choice” and must set up a rescue fund that enables poorer member states to share their debt with the richer states.
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