While the pandemic has put the lives of the millions in danger, the majority of the public in the U.K have expressed their wish to extend the Brexit deadline so the government could focus on the coronavirus pandemic, which has taken the lives of more than 16,000 people across the country.
According to the poll conducted by Focaldata for Best for Britain and Hope Not Hate, the public would rather see the government extend Brexit than cope with the negotiations while the coronavirus continues to swipe lives in Europe.
The survey that was supported by Conservative and Brexit Party voters for extension of the transition period showed that from all of those who supported an extension, 64% wanted the transition period to be extended “indefinitely until the crisis is resolved,” while 36% wanted the transition period to be extended “for a maximum of a year.”
A majority of the public would prefer Westminster officials to keep their eyes on the crisis at hand, with two-thirds saying the government should focus all its energy on dealing with COVID-19 for the rest of the year.
However, 34% of all responders believed its officials could “balance dealing with the coronavirus outbreak while also giving necessary time to negotiate a full trade deal with the European Union before the end of the year.”
While, Labour and Scottish National Party (SNP) voters expressed strong support for pushing the end of the transition period past New Year’s Eve, about 49% of leave voters also supported the measure – as well as 48% of Conservative voters and 45% of those who previously backed the Brexit Party.
According to Naomi Smith, Best for Britain's chief executive, “There is clear support in Scotland and other nations and regions of the U.K. for an extension, and the views of small ‘c’ conservative voters in our data is telling.”
“It’s patronizing to suggest they would punish the government at the ballot box for prioritizing the country’s health over an arbitrary exit date,” she said.
“They are compromising. It may not be their preference, but everyone can see that the government is overwhelmed by the task at hand and needs no further distractions,” she added.
Smith pointed out that the government must take this opportunity to unchain itself, and most importantly the country’s economy, from the Dec. 31 exit date.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said last month that the virus had made “the case for intensive diplomacy to get this deal done and move on” to form a future relationship with the EU.
“I don’t think delaying the Brexit negotiations would give anyone on either side of the Channel the certainty they need,” he added.