BREXIT talks continue between the UK and the EU despite the coronavirus pandemic putting a hold on normal life. But as Remainers call for a delay to the negotiations, Boris Johnson has been warned a repeal of the law to extend the transition period will cause a Tory rebellion.
The warning comes from radio host and Brexiteer Iain Dale who claimed the only way to apply for an extension to the Brexit talks past December 31 will require either an amendment or a repeal of the UK Withdrawal Agreement Bill. Mr Dale said such a move could cause a huge political embarrassment for Boris Johnson and arch Brexiteers in his party would rebel. He told Sky News: “If the transition period extends beyond January 1st, we will still have to obey all EU rules even though we will have no say in drawing them up.
“So I think that is the legitimate point.
“Now, it may be that by June 30 there is no prospect of an agreement and both sides are going to have to make some very tough decisions.
“Bear in mind there is a law in this country that says we have to leave on December 31. So if Boris Johnson decides to accede to an extension he would have to repeal that law or at least amend it, which will be politically very embarrassing.
“He would get a huge amount of criticism from the harder Brexiteers side of the argument.
“Personally, I think that that is something that we are going to have to consider even though I really don’t want to.”
On Sunday, Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster said the British Government should not be “distracted” by talks of extending the Brexit transition period.
The UK Government has insisted the transition period will not be extended beyond 2020, despite officials in London and Brussels admitting there has been little progress in the two rounds of formal talks held so far.
December 31 is the deadline for the end of the transition period unless the UK agrees by June to extend it.
Speaking to Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Mrs Foster said: “At the moment we are talking to the Government about Brexit.
“We have a very particular issue around the Ireland/Northern Ireland protocol.
“We have been engaging with the Paymaster and Michael Gove around that issue.
“It is important that we get clarity for our businesses in Northern Ireland.
“We should not be distracted by talk of lengthening the transition or anything like that.