Our Bill to Extend the Brexit Transition Period
By Alistair Carmichael MP
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats
This week we should have had the second reading of the Liberal Democrats' Bill to guarantee an extension to the Brexit transition period.
Instead the government have ensured that this bill will not progress until after the extension deadline
The British people deserve better than needlessly risking No Deal
With just over two weeks to go until the deadline for extending the transition period, the timings were already incredibly tight. Those who voted Leave and Remain alike have called for the transition period to be extended. It makes no sense to anyone for us to crash out of the EU without a deal in place, especially as we deal with the terrible human cost and economic toll of COVID-19.
The stakes couldn't be higher.
Just this week, the pharmaceutical industry warned that some stockpiles of medical supplies have been "used up entirely" by the virus. Building these stockpiles back up without a deal with the E.U., and as our healthcare sector faces the winter flu season, will be incredibly difficult.
At the same time, coronavirus is wreaking terrible damage to our economy.
The economic damage caused by this disease will hit those on lower incomes the hardest. As millions of people across the country have felt anxiety caused by being furloughed, losing business, or being made redundant, the last thing they need is a government willing to risk a chaotic No Deal crash out of the E.U.
Not enough progress has been made on Brexit negotiations.- Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) June 6, 2020
We are now dangerously close to the extension deadline. It is time to do the right thing for our NHS, economy, and vital supplies of food and medicines - it is time to extend the Brexit transition period. pic.twitter.com/wb2O1zFL5b
The government's stubbornness on this issue, and their willingness to put party ideology over the national interest, could cost lives and livelihoods.
The British people have gone through enough in 2020 - they deserve better than needlessly risking a No Deal Brexit.
Liberal Democrats will continue to urge the government to extend the transition period for the maximum time available so that our economy, healthcare sector, and supplies of food and medicines have the time and bandwidth to cope with Covid-19.