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Johnson pledges post-Brexit transition in 2020; Queen sets the legislative program of new government Thursday

Wednesday, December 18th 2019 - 09:27 UTC
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Britain has an option to extend the transition but Johnson refuses to, and intends to enshrine the 2020 date in legislation, his office said on Tuesday Britain has an option to extend the transition but Johnson refuses to, and intends to enshrine the 2020 date in legislation, his office said on Tuesday
EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said the bloc would “do the maximum” to try to agree a new partnership by the 2020 deadline EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said the bloc would “do the maximum” to try to agree a new partnership by the 2020 deadline

Britain's government said on Tuesday it will legislate to ensure a post-Brexit transition period does not extend beyond 2020, sending the pound sinking as the European Union warned of a race against time to agree new trade terms.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson won a big majority in Thursday's general election on a promise to “get Brexit done” by taking Britain out of the European Union by Jan 31.

A transition period will follow until Dec 31, 2020, during which London and Brussels hope to negotiate a new economic and security partnership to replace 46 years of integration.

Britain has an option to extend the transition but Johnson refuses to, and intends to enshrine the 2020 date in legislation, his office said on Tuesday.

At his first cabinet meeting since the election on Tuesday, Johnson pledged to work “24-hours-a-day, flat out” to deliver on his election promises.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said the bloc would “do the maximum” to try to agree a new partnership by the 2020 deadline, and avoid a highly disruptive “no deal” divorce.

But European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis warned that a “very rigid timeframe... reflects that certain things will be out of reach”.

“It will be indeed rather problematic to hold negotiations and reach agreement on a comprehensive trade deal,” he said.

The pound rose after Johnson's election on hopes of an end to years of political turmoil over Brexit, but fell Tuesday on fresh fears of a disorderly split.

Johnson welcomed back his ministers after what he called a “seismic” result, telling them: “You ain't seen nothing yet.”

As the House of Commons returned, he told MPs: “This parliament is not going to waste the time of the nation in deadlock, and division and delay.

”We are going to get Brexit done ... and we are going to get on with delivering on the priorities of the British people.“

Johnson won by taking a swathe of traditionally working-class seats in northern England, and has promised to address public concerns about health and education spending.

His self-styled ”People's Government“ said it would boycott next month's meeting of the world's global and political elites in Davos, Switzerland.

”Our focus is on delivering for the people, not champagne with billionaires,“ a government source told the Daily Mail tabloid.

MPs began being sworn in on Tuesday, and Queen Elizabeth II will set out the government's legislative program on Thursday.

This includes the flagship Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which will enshrine in British law the terms of Britain's EU exit and is expected to have its first vote in parliament on Friday.

The bill will also ”legally prohibit government agreeing to any extension” to the transition period, a Downing Street source said.

 

Categories: Politics, International.

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