Should the Brexit negotiations be postponed?

The coronavirus crisis has upset the timetable for the Brexit negotiations. Boris Johnson is nonetheless insisting that the transition phase during which all EU regulations still apply for the UK will end at the end of the year as planned. Others are calling for it to be prolonged. Columnists of the pro-Tory paper The Daily Telegraph discuss the pros and cons.

Open/close all quotes
The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Now we really have better things to do

Columnist Ben Kelly explains why he thinks it's nothing short of crazy to continue the Brexit negotiations at times like these:

“Brexit is no longer top of the agenda in Whitehall. The attention and expertise of the civil service and senior ministers has been diverted to dealing with epidemic. It simply makes no sense to have the government's best and brightest focused on Brexit now or for the foreseeable future. With the UK and EU member states facing a daunting healthcare, economic and political crisis neither side have the bandwidth to focus on the negotiations.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Exploit the crisis

The British government must make the most of the present situation and stick to its guns, columnist Ben Habib counters:

“The EU is now in no position to do anything but to give the UK a good trade deal and cease its ridiculous demands for the UK to remain locked into a level playing field with its restrictive burdensome regulatory set up. We must press home this advantage. We should not shamelessly exploit it to the detriment of Europe but we must use it to get a Canada style free trade deal - another one of the Prime Minister's promises. ... No more delays - we must exit the transition period by 31 December 2020.”