Last month, the European Union‘s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier wrote to the Westminster leaders of the SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, SDLP, Green Party and Alliance Party, and said the option of an extension to the transition period is available to the UK. These party leaders, including the SNP’s Ian Blackford, had previously written to Michel Barnier on May 15 calling for a two-year extension to be agreed between the UK and EU. The bloc’s head Brexit negotiator said in his letter: “I take note on your views of a possible extension to the transition period.
“Such an extension of up to one or two years can be agreed jointly by the two parties.
“The European Union has always said that we remain open on this matter.”
This was immediately slapped down by both Boris Johnson and Mr Barnier’s UK counterpart David Frost, who continues to insist a trade deal is signed before the end of the transition period on December 31.
However, a group of Remainers, led by Liberal Democrat acting co-leader Sir Ed Davey, are trying to squeeze a Bill through Parliament in a last-ditch attempt to delay Brexit by up to two years.
Brexit news: Remainers and the EU have been accused of having ‘contempt for the democratic process’
Brexit news: Michel Barnier wrote to opposition party leaders to say the EU is open to extending the transition period
If Remainers could flick a switch that would remove the referendum result from history they would. The reason they cannot accept the result is because they have a contempt for the democratic process – just like the EU.
But political experts have lashed out at the desperate bid to delay Brexit again and force an extension of the transition period by up to two years.
Patrick Sullivan, CEO of the Westminster-based Parliament Street think tank, told Express.co.uk: “Perhaps Remainers were asleep during the last General Election which was, unquestionably, a Brexit election.
“If Remainers could flick a switch that would remove the referendum result from history they would.
“The reason they cannot accept the result is because they have a contempt for the democratic process – just like the EU.”
Brexit news; Boris Johnson has rejectred all attempts to extend the transition period
“There is a possibility that there will be a delay to the transition period.
“COVID-19 has turned the political landscape upside down in recent months and Remainers will look for any excuse to ensure the UK follows Single Market rules.”
John Macdonald, Head of Government Affairs at the Adam Smith Institute think tank, warned Remainers still clinging onto the hope of later rejoining the EU are “deluding themselves”.
He told this website: “During the referendum campaign, Remainers had strong arguments at their disposal but failed to utilise them effectively.
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Brexit news: The SNP’s Ian Blackford has urged the Prime Minister to accept the EU’s transition period extension offer
Brexit news: Ed Davey is also calling for the transition period to be extended past December 31
“Those who could not accept the democratic mandate afforded by the result reheated those same arguments and were once again rebuffed by the election of a majority Tory Government.
“Those still clinging to remaining (or more accurately, rejoining) are deluding themselves.
“The 2019 General Election made it clear that the public wanted to get Brexit done.”
Mr Macdonald added: “After coronavirus, people’s priorities have moved even further away from re-visiting old arguments.
“Attempts to delay or undermine Brexit will be seen as a vanity project for those who refuse to move on.
“The time has come for Barnier and the radical rump of Remainers to accept Britain will inevitably leave the Single Market and Customs Union at the end of the year whether they like it or not.”
The UK and EU will continue talks on a post-Brexit trade deal – despite the latest round of negotiations again failing to break the deadlock.
On Friday, Mr Barnier said there had been “no significant areas of progress” following four days of discussions by video link.
Brexit news: The UK voted to leave the EU during the referendum in 2016
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator lashed out at the UK, accusing the British team of “backtracking on the political declaration”.
He told a press conference in Brussels: “In all areas, the UK continues to backtrack under commitments undertaken in the political declaration, including on fisheries.
“We cannot and will not accept this backtracking on the political declaration.”
UK counterpart David Frost said they would have to “intensify and accelerate” the process if there was to be any chance of an agreement.