Thank you for contacting me about the impact of the coronavirus on the economy and the proposal to extend the transition period. I understand your concerns, and those of the Social Market Foundation, but I believe that an extension to the transition period will only create more uncertainty for businesses. A future partnership agreement will provide stability in the long-term and encourage investment and trade.
An extension to the transition period could also have significant economic and political consequences for the UK. Our contribution to the EU budget would continue and we would remain under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. The UK left the EU in January this year and the EU’s control over our affairs must come to an end.
Negotiations have been continuing throughout the coronavirus outbreak with discussions by videoconference in April, May and June following the first round of talks in March. Progress has been made across a number of areas and the technical detail is well understood by both sides. The differences that remain are largely of a political nature and I am hopeful that these can be resolved.
The UK and the EU agreed that the transition period would end on 31 December as part of the Withdrawal Agreement. This is part of UK law and there is no intention of extending it. I do not believe that further delay will help business confidence. As I said in the House of Commons on 9th June:
“Post-Covid, it will be essential to get the global trading system moving, and nothing could give greater confidence in that system than seeing a UK-EU trade agreement in place. To enable that to happen, the EU could give Britain a Canada-style agreement. Does my right hon Friend agree that the UK has a right to expect from the EU no less than what the UK itself agreed, as part of the EU, with Canada”.