Johnson aims to rule out any extension of Brexit transition period

Johnson aims to rule out any extension of Brexit transition period
Credit: Belga

British prime minister Boris Johnson wants to legally prohibit any extension of the transition period following the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union on January 31, a government source indicated on Tuesday.

“Last week, the public voted for a government that would get Brexit done and allow this country to move forward. And that is exactly what we intend to do starting this week,” a source at No. 10 stated.

“Our programme clearly stated that we would not extend the transition period and the new law to implement the withdrawal agreement will legally prevent the government from accepting any extension beyond 2020,” the source added.

Elected by a large majority, the Tory leader will on Friday introduce to the House of Commons the legislation required to implement the agreement negotiated with Brussels that governs the UK’s exit from the EU on January 31.

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The divorce agreement envisages a transition period until the end of 2020, extendable for up to two years, in order to avoid a hard Brexit and resultant economic chaos, if the two parties do not reach an agreement in this time frame on their future business relationship.

For this transition period – during which the UK will continue to apply European regulations – to be extended, London must request it before July 1 2020.

The withdrawal agreement will be the first text to be examined by the newly formed Parliament, following the swearing-in of its 650 freshly elected MPs.

Its adoption should be completed after the holidays, allowing the European Parliament to ratify the text and lifting the final barriers to the divorce, after 47 years of a difficult partnership and a psychodrama lasting more than three years following the 2016 referendum.

As far as the shape of future relations between Brussels and London are concerned, Boris Johnson wants a free-trade agreement along the lines of the one concluded between the EU and Canada, according to his spokesperson.

Before concentrating on Brexit, the lower chamber of the House will meet again on Tuesday to elect a Speaker and unless there are further surprises, reappoint Labour MP Lindsay Hoyle, elected at the beginning of November a month before the general election.

The Brussels Times

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