George Galloway assured Brexiteers that a trade deal would be reached with the European Union by this year’s deadline. As the coronavirus crisis continues to occupy countries around the world, suggestions of extending the negotiation transition period have arisen. Gerry from Crystal Palace called into Mr Galloway’s online RT show to ask how a business and trade agreement could be secured during the pandemic.
The former Labour MP turned-commentator told him: “Well, we’ve already Brexit-ed.
“We’ll be leaving, I think, at the end of the year either with a deal with the European Union, of which even more desperately needs a deal than we do given the current state of things both here and there.
“We must leave, we voted to leave, Parliament has passed a deal that we leave and so we must, don’t you think, Gerry?”
The caller replied: “Of course, but once we reach the December deadline and we’ve actually officially left where do you go from there on trade negotiators when everyone’s shut down and things are going to be slow to take up again?”
Mr Galloway responded: “Well I’m in favour of a deal but if we don’t get one I’m in favour of trading with everybody on World Trade Organisation terms.
“I always have been, but if we don’t get a deal we aren’t paying the divorce payment.
“You can’t be denied a divorce and still be expected to pay.
“You can’t be in the situation where they expect us to fork out £40 billion when we badly need that money here to rebuild our country and rebuild our economy once we have left.”
The deadline for the trade agreement is December 31, 2020.
The cut-off point for requesting an extension to the transition period is June.
The UK is currently in an 11-month transition period after officially leaving the EU at the end of January.
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Although we have ceased to be an EU member, we still have to continue to follow its rules and contribute to its budget – during the transition.
The purpose of the transition period is to give time for the UK and EU to negotiate their future relationship, including a trade deal.
Britain’s chief negotiator David Frost and EU counterpart Michel Barnier have resumed discussions by video call as they race to strike an agreement before the deadline.
Mr Frost said that Britain will not ask to extend the transition and “will say no” if the EU asks for a delay.
He claimed it would create more uncertainty and leave the UK bound by Brussels at “a time when we need to control our own affairs”.
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