TWO-THIRDS of Scots want Brexit to be delayed, according to a new poll. With coronavirus engulfing the political machinery of the UK and the EU, Boris Johnson is coming under increasing pressure to extend the transition period beyond December this year.

The deadline to ask for that extension is July 1.

However, Downing Street is, so far, unwilling to budge, pointing out that the end of the transition period is set in law.

A Panelbase survey for The Sunday Times revealed that 67% of voters in Scotland believe the transition period should now be extended. About a fifth (21%) are opposed to delay, while 12% did not know.

Among Leave voters, 45% agree that Brexit activities should be halted during the crisis with the transition period extended if necessary, while 42% said the transition period should end in December regardless and 12% were unsure.

Ian Murray, the Labour MP for Edinburgh South, said: “It is impossible to secure a Brexit deal that protects businesses and workers before the end of the year.”

He added: “This is not a time for constitutional politics and the entire focus of all governments in the UK must be on tackling the coronavirus outbreak and then dealing with its aftermath to ensure our economy recovers.”

Both the EU and the UK’s chief negotiators, Michel Barnier and David Frost, have been forced into self-isolation by the virus.

Lockdowns in Brussels and the UK resulted in face-to-face talks being cancelled.

Earlier this week, Christophe Hansen, an MEP for the European People’s Party – the EU’s largest group – called for an extension.

“Under these extraordinary circumstances, I cannot see how the UK Government would choose to expose itself to the double whammy of the coronavirus and the exit from the EU single market, which will inevitably add to the disruption, deal or no deal.

“I can only hope that common sense and substance will prevail over ideology. An extension of the transition period is the only responsible thing to do.”

German MEP David McAllister said: “The EU has always been open to extending the transition period – the ball is now clearly in the British court.”

However, Downing Street insisted the December 31 cut-off date – which is now enshrined in UK law – will not be changed.

The chairman of the Tory European Research Group of MPs, Mark Francois, said negotiators could use Skype: “The last thing this country needs when facing Covid-19 is to reopen the Brexit argument all over again.”

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