Lib Dems call on James Grundy to support Govt review on no deal impact assessments in light of pandemic
By Danny Simm
The Liberal Democrats have called on James Grundy to backs calls for a review of the no-deal Brexit impact assessments in light of the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter addressed to Mr Grundy, Liberal Democrat spokesperson, Sharron Honey for Leigh, said:"as the Prime Minister continues to refuse to rethink his position on accepting an extension to the transition period, it is time the facts were laid bare about what this will mean for our country."
The intervention coincides with the fourth anniversary of the EU referendum result this week, the 23rd of June. Despite concerns, the Government formally rejected the option to extend the transition period earlier this month.
Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:
"Even before coronavirus, the Government had a tight timetable for the Brexit talks. As the Prime Minister continues to oppose extending the transition period, he must at least be honest about what this means for our country.
"By reviewing the impact assessments done last Autumn, as well as undertaking an economic assessment, the Government can be transparent with the public about the consequence of refusing to extend the transition period."
Liberal Democrat spokesperson, Sharron Honey, for Leigh added:
"Boris Johnson's refusal to even consider requesting an extension to the Brexit transition as we face a global health and economic crisis shows he is putting his Brexit ideology before the UK's national interest.
"The pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on jobs, businesses and the wider UK economy. Tackling the coronavirus crisis must be the Conservative Government's priority, and people have a right to know to what extent a no deal puts this at risk.
"In the interests of everyone living across Leigh, the Liberal Democrats are urging James Grundy to join us in calling for this review."
The full letter can be read below -
Dear James Grundy,
On Friday 12th June, at the second Joint Committee meeting, the Government formally rejected the option to extend the transition period. The EU have made it clear that they would still be open to an extension and that the progress made so far on key areas of the Brexit negotiations is insufficient. The deadline for requesting an extension is 1st July 2020, after which point the UK faces the possibility of crashing out of the EU if a deal is not secured before the end of the year.
The country is already battling with Covid-19. Our resources are stretched and the most vulnerable in our society have been those most affected by the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.
In April alone, the country's economy shrank by 20.4% in April - the largest monthly contraction on record. The full devastation of the pandemic is yet to be revealed: widespread job losses, reduced living standards, and debt are certain.
Considering this, the Liberal Democrats are calling for you to support our calls for the Government to publish a review of the impact assessments done in Autumn of 2019, to understand full the impact Covid - 19 has had, particularly in the following areas:
- The availability of food products and any subsequent impact on food prices
- The availability of medicines and the impact coronavirus has had on medicine stockpiles
- The ability of essential products, materials, and chemicals to be imported from the EU
- The ability of British businesses to prepare for a potential no deal, and any subsequent impact on employment
The Liberal Democrats would also like to see the government undertake an economic assessment on the impact of no deal. The Government refused to initiate one last Autumn, but this is crucial considering the financial situation the UK is in due to the coronavirus crisis.
The Government must demonstrate that they have fully assessed the impact of crashing out without a deal, in light of the pandemic. Tackling the pandemic must be their priority, yet the threat of a no-deal Brexit looms large and could deliver another devastating blow to our already weakened economy and public services.
As the Prime Minister continues to refuse to rethink his position on accepting an extension to the transition period, it is time the facts were laid bare about what this will mean for our country.
Liberal Democrat spokesperson Sharron Honey for Leigh