Lib Dem acting leader urges for Brexit delay until after coronavirus crisis

28 May 2020, 11:37 | Updated: 28 May 2020, 11:38

By Fiona Jones

Lib Dem acting leader Sir Ed Davey explains to Nick Ferrari why he is urging for Brexit to be delayed until after the coronavirus crisis.

Under the terms of the withdrawal from the EU Britain has until July 1 to extend the transition period and with this in mind EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier has written to the UK's opposition parties to state the EU is still willing to accept a two-year extension to Brexit.

It comes after the leaders of the SNP, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru, SDLP, Green Party and Alliance Party wrote to Mr Barnier on May 15 calling for a two-year extension to be agreed between the UK and the EU amid the growing negotiations deadlock.

Acting Leader of the Lib Dems Sir Ed Davey told LBC he would put a pause on Brexit due to the coronavirus crisis.

Sir Ed said there is "no doubt" Brexit will happen: "The question is what is economically sensible when we're going through the biggest recession this country has seen for 300 years."

Nick asked what extending a period of uncertainty would achieve.

Sir Ed responded that the UK can continue with the EU rules we have been used to during this period of disruption and after this period we can adjust to whatever new relations the UK and EU establish.

"Even if there's a deal, Michael Gove has said there will need to be a huge number of people who need to be recruited to deal with the trade barriers that will be put up, the customs forms and so on.

"It seems to me that if you're going to add costs to business just at this moment it's the wrong time to do it. To me it's plain common sense," Sir Ed said, stating that businesses would ask for a grace period to get over this crisis.

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