THE UK Government will tell the EU it is not going to seek an extension to the Brexit transition period, Cabinet Office Minister Penny Mordaunt has said.

She said that she and Michael Gove would “emphasise that we will not be extending the transition period” beyond December this year when they meet EU counterparts at a Brexit joint committee meeting on Friday.

She told the House of Commons in an update on Brexit talks: “We cannot keep negotiating forever, we have to allow our businesses, our farmers, our citizens time to implement the decisions taken.

“And that is why we are at this key stage now where we have to increase and escalate negotiations because we need to arrive at a deal soon.”

Mordaunt earlier said the fourth round of talks between the UK and EU were “constructive” but acknowledged there was “no movement on the most difficult areas where differences of principle are at their most acute”, including fisheries, governance arrangements and the “level playing field” arrangements.

She added to the Commons: “We’ve now reached an important moment for these talks. To make progress we need to accelerate and intensify our work and the Government is working closely with the EU to achieve that.”

Mordaunt also reiterated the Government will not extend the transition period beyond December 2020, telling MPs: “We’ll push the EU on implementing their obligations under the terms of the agreement. This Government remains committed to our negotiations with the EU and the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement.”

Her comments led to outrage from other parties with SNP Cabinet Office spokesman Pete Wishar mocking the Government for blaming the European Union over an inability to reach a trade agreement.

He said: “It’s going to be misery heaped on misery as Covid and Brexit appear like the twin horsemen of the economic apocalypse trampling over any prospect of a recovery.

“And whose fault is it going to be? Obviously them, nothing to do with us gov’, it’s all these nasty, invidious Europeans, how dare they hold this Government to the commitments they’ve already given in good faith? These fiendish Europeans asking us to deliver on what we’ve already agreed to.”

He added: “When you see them sitting down to negotiate, it’s like watching the Scotland B team taking on Brazil of the 1970s, it’s almost cruel to observe.

“Them [the EU negotiators] with their screeds of documents and facts, and team GB with their ill-fitting clown shoes.”