UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday said that there was “no talk” of extending the Brexit transition period despite the global coronavirus crisis.
The outbreak has cancelled trade talks between the European Union (EU) and the UK but the Prime Minister said on Wednesday night that the deadline remained December 31, the Metro newspaper reported.
The end of year deadline was always considered an ambitious goal but now borders across the 27-nation bloc have been shut and entire countries placed in lockdown.
Addressing the issue during his daily press conference, Johnson was asked about a delay.
“It’s not a subject that’s being regularly discussed, I can tell you, in Downing Street at the moment,” he told reporters.
“There is legislation in place that I have no intention of changing.”
Earlier in the month, the European Union (EU) and the UK have started the negotiations for a new partnership after Britain’s exit from the bloc on January 31.
The first round of talks was held in Brussels earlier this month and both sides remain far from any kind of agreement about the future relationship.
Brexit was originally scheduled for March 29, 2019, but was repeatedly delayed when MPs rejected a previous withdrawal agreement reached by the EU and former Prime Minister Theresa May.
Johnson was able to get his own deal through Parliament after winning the December 12, 2019, general election with a House of Commons majority of 80, on a pledge to “get Brexit done”.
The UK has an option to extend the transition but Johnson refuses to, and intends to enshrine the 2020 date in legislation, PM Johnson’s office said.