AN SNP MP has hit out at Boris Johnson’s “false” claims after the Prime Minister told him “people want to see Brexit done” instead of requesting an extension.
At PMQs, the SNP’s Shadow Secretary for International Trade, Stewart Hosie, told Johnson he has the power to prevent further economic crisis by extending the Brexit transition period from December 31 as planned.
He said: “Both Covid and Brexit is suppressing trade, damaging jobs and the economy and while we hope, as Covid ends, global trade will bounce back, there is no guarantee that will happen quickly.
“The Prime Minister, though, could mitigate some of this damage by seeking an extension to the Brexit transitional period.
“Can he explain to the House why he is being so negligent in not seeking that transitional extension now?”
But the PM said the Government plans to push ahead with Brexit despite Covid-19.
He added: “I think a lot of people in this country don’t want to see the Brexit argument reopened.
“They want to see it settled, they want to see it done, and that is what this Government intends to do.”
This differs to the views expressed by the public in the lastest Brexit opinion polls.
A Sunday Times opinion poll of more than 1000 Scots taken on March 23 and 24 found 67% believe Brexit should be put on hold until the coronavirus crisis is resolved. This compared to 21% who think the transition period should remain as planned and 12% who were unsure.
A YouGov poll that surveyed people in Britain found even 44% of Tory voters support an extension. The survey of nearly 3000 people on April 8 revealed more than half (56%) of those in Britain support extending the transition period and 62% of Scots agreed, with an even higher 65% of Londoners backing the suggestion.
Hosie said Westminster should “finally do the responsible thing” and extend plans to leave the EU.
He added: “Polling shows Boris Johnson’s claims are false. The overwhelming majority of people want the Tory government to put its Brexit obsession on hold and extend the transition period.
“We are in the middle of a global pandemic and economic crisis. Millions of people and businesses are already struggling to get by. We simply cannot afford the devastating blow of Brexit later this year – when our economy will need all the help it can get.
“With the risk of a catastrophic no-deal Brexit growing every day, it’s crucial the Tory government finally does the responsible thing and agrees the two-year extension the EU has offered.”