UK PM to outlaw Brexit extension beyond 2020
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was seeking on Tuesday to outlaw extending the Brexit transition period beyond the end of 2020, as he prepared to put the EU divorce deal before MPs.
Johnson won a big majority in last week’s general election on a promise to ‘get Brexit done’ by taking Britain out of the European Union by the end of January.
A transition period will then follow, during which London and Brussels hope to negotiate a trade agreement before the end of December next year.
European leaders have said the 2020 deadline would be too tight to complete a comprehensive deal, reviving fears of a ‘nodeal’ outcome that could cause fresh uncertainty and chaos.
That was enough to pull the pound sterling lower in late trading in New York.
Johnson held his first Cabinet we must repay their trust now by working flat out to change our country for the better,” he said during the meeting at his Downing Street office.
“We should have absolutely no embarrassment in saying we are a people’s government and this is a people’s cabinet.”
Johnson said senior ministers needed to work ‘flat out’ to repay the trust of traditional Labour voters who switched to his centre-right Conservatives. The government’s agenda should be focused on social justice, better infrastructure and ‘extending opportunity across the whole of the United Kingdom’, he added.
Johnson plans to put the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill before MPs on Friday, after Queen Elizabeth II sets out the government’s legislative programme on Thursday.
But the government is planning to block the transition period from going beyond the end of 2020. “Last week the public voted for a government that would get Brexit done and move this country forward - and that’s exactly what we intend to do, starting this week,” a Downing Street source said.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during his first Cabinet meeting since the general election, inside 10 Downing Street, in London on Tuesday