A number of constituents have contacted me regarding their concerns, that in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the transition period, originally timetabled to end on 31st December should be extended.
Although I appreciate the concerns which have been outlined to me; I am firmly of the opinion it is not in the interests of the UK to extend trade talks beyond this deadline. All of us witnessed the damage caused by three long years of dither and delay in officially leaving the European Union, and it is not a process any of us should want to repeat.
Last December I stood on a manifesto which was clear about the Government’s commitment to quickly establishing our future trading relationship with the European Union. It is encouraging therefore that despite the inability of negotiating teams to meet face to face, trade talks have continued virtually throughout this pandemic. We have already shown our ability to quickly negotiate international agreements, re-opening and re-negotiating the Withdrawal Act within three months despite the common narrative this was impossible.
Whilst I know the coronavirus has rapidly challenged the 'normal' functioning of our day to day society, I strongly believe, as do a number of colleagues, the best course of action is to hold firm to the original deadline of the 31st December, and provide our country with the certainty it deserves. Please be assured I will continue to follow development of these talks closely and look forward to establishing new trading relationships with countries around the world.