Closed petition Extend the transition; delay negotiations until after the coronavirus outbreak
The government should consider delaying negotiations so they can concentrate on the coronavirus situation and reduce travel of both EU and UK negotiators. This would necessitate extending the transition period; as there can only be a one off extension, this should be for two years.
The coronavirus situation will inevitably require effort from the government and they should not be dealing with EU negotiations at the same time. A two year extension will ensure that we have the time and energy to properly negotiate a deal. The country will be hit financially and socially by the impacts of this virus. We cannot risk a ‘no deal’ impact on top of this.
Additionally, government and EU negotiators should be limiting travel at this time.
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This response was given on 9 April 2020
The transition period ends on 31 December 2020, as enshrined in UK law. The Prime Minister has made clear he has no intention of changing this. We remain fully committed to negotiations with the EU.
Read the response in full
We will not be extending the transition period – we will be recovering economic and political independence at the end of the year, which the British people voted for.
The transition period ends on 31 December 2020. The end date of the transition period is enshrined in UK law. Section 15A of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 prohibits the Government from agreeing to an extension of the transition period.
The UK remains fully committed to the negotiations on our future relationship with the EU. However, in light on the current situation, the structure of negotiations has had to change and instead take place between the negotiating teams remotely. Last week, the UK held a series of conference calls, both sides discussed and provided technical clarifications on their respective legal texts and we have held conversations with the Commission to consider next steps. In the coming weeks we hope to have agreed a timetable for the negotiations by remote means in April and May. We remain committed to working closely with the devolved administrations (DAs) throughout negotiations with the EU to ensure a future relationship that works in the interests of the whole of the UK.
The first meeting of the Withdrawal Joint Committee (WAJC) was held as planned on 30 March. This meeting was held via teleconference, in line with the latest Government guidance, and is a good example of how we can continue our work on implementing the Withdrawal Agreement during this time.
We will, of course, continue to be guided by scientific advice about what is right for our workforce as we seek to develop these options.
Other parliamentary business
Petitions Committee questions Government on its response to coronavirus
Last week the Petitions Committee put some of the most popular questions from the public about coronavirus to the Government Minister for Schools, the Minister for Disabled People and the Deputy Chief Medical Officer. These included:
- How long will schools be closed for and what will the impact be on exams and grades?
- What financial support will be available for the self-employed?
- What financial support will be offered to people who are unable to pay their rent or bills due to self-isolation or loss of work?
- What support will be offered to the events, creative and hospitality industries now that pubs, clubs and cultural venues have been closed?
- What clear, practical steps can people take to make sure they are following Government guidance on social distancing, household isolation and self-isolation?
- Who is being tested and why, and will tests be made freely available to everyone?
- What is the Government doing to ensure that everyone is getting the right information?
Watch the session on YouTube: https://youtu.be/aPLXJcZEfi8
Because of the large number of petitions that we continue to receive on coronavirus we have sent more questions to the Government to answer.
Read our letters to different Government Ministers: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/publications/3/correspondence/
Some of the questions we’ve asked include:
- When will testing capacity will be increased; who will testing be available for and will it be free?
- What is being done to tackle the spread of disinformation?
- How quickly will support for self-employed people be made available?
- What will happen to the school year? Will summer holidays be cancelled so that children can catch up?
- How are foodbanks being supported to continue operating during the outbreak?
- What is being done to address panic buying and prevent price hikes of key items?
- Will trains, buses and flights continue to operate? For how long?
We’ll email you again to let you know when we get a response to these questions, and to let you know about any more action the Committee takes.
Who are we?
We are the House of Commons Petitions Committee. We are a cross-party group of MPs that looks at e-petitions submitted on petition.parliament.uk. We are independent from Government. You can find out more about us and our work on our website.
You can follow the Petitions Committee on Twitter: @HoCpetitions.
You can read impartial House of Commons Library information about coronavirus here: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/coronavirus/
You can find out more about coronavirus and how you can protect yourself and others here:
You can read NHS tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus here: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-anxiety-tips
MPs ask about the impact of coronavirus on the timetable for brexit negotiations
A group of MPs called the Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union, recently asked the Government about this issue and the Government replied.
You can read the exchange of letters between the Chair of the Committee, Hilary Benn and Michael Gove on behalf of the Government here:
What is the Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union?
The Committee looks at and questions the Government about matters relating to the negotiations on the future relationship with the European Union.
It's a cross-party committee of MPs and is independent of the Government.
You can find out more about Committee on its website:
You can follow the Committee on Twitter @CommonsFREU
This is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work:
You may also be interested to know that because of the large number of petitions that have been started in relation to coronavirus, the Petitions Committee has been questioning the Government about its response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Find out more and watch the Committee put questions suggested by petitioners to Government Ministers and the Deputy Chief Medical Officer: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/news/145767/committee-question-deputy-chief-medical-officer-and-ministers-on-coronavirus-response/
Read letters asking further questions of Government Ministers: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/publications/3/correspondence/
You can read impartial analysis of the Government response to coronavirus and policy developments here:
MPs to discuss the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on negotiations for a future UK/EU relationship
On Wednesday 15 July MPs will discuss the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on negotiations for a future UK/EU relationship. The debate has been scheduled by the SNP as an Opposition day debate.
The start time of the debate will depend on other parliamentary business, but you can follow the House of Commons on Twitter @HouseofCommons, which will post updates when the debate starts.
You will be able to watch the debate live here: https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/4f0f903c-5dab-4736-9834-fb99c5cd6614
A transcript will be published the following day here: https://hansard.parliament.uk
What is an opposition day?
Opposition days are days allocated in the House of Commons for the discussion of subjects chosen by the opposition (non-government) parties. On Opposition days the House considers a motion that has been tabled by an opposition party, in this case the SNP.
It is open to the Government, or any MP, to propose amendments to the motion. Motions agreed on opposition days are not normally seen as binding on the Government.
You can find out more about Opposition days here: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn06315/