Govt must pause Brexit trade talks to deal with Coronavirus

Today (2nd March) Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey, has called on Boris Johnson to pause trade talks with the EU and extend the Brexit transition period so Ministers can focus on dealing with the Coronavirus threat.

Ed Davey will say that the Prime Minister has so far failed to show any leadership as Coronavirus has spread. Managing the “gathering storm” of the Coronavirus, during a flooding crisis, whilst the Government is attempting the most complicated negotiations for generations is a "recipe for disaster".

Ed Davey said:
“Boris Johnson has been conspicuous by his absence during the flooding crisis, and has failed to show the leadership required over a threat as serious as Coronavirus.

 “Only yesterday the Health Secretary admitted that stockpiles for mitigating the damage of a “No deal Brexit” were being re-directed for the Coronavirus threat, even though last week Ministers confirmed a “No Deal Brexit” could now come as early as this June.

“If a No Deal Brexit were to occur in the middle of a Coronavirus epidemic it would be a recipe for disaster. Lives could be put at risk, as the NHS and medical supplies could snap under the pressure.
“Rather than obsessing with his own self-imposed Brexit deadlines, the Prime Minister must wake up, and recognise that it’s better to be safe than sorry.

"During this gathering storm the national interest surely suggests that the PM should seek an extension of the Brexit transition period and pause the trade talks. Then the NHS and local communities can get the funds and the focus they deserve, and the UK can talk to our European neighbours about how we can co-operate against the Coronavirus which does not recognise national borders.”

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