Geraint Davies, Labour MP for Swansea West, in the first round of questions in a ‘remote’ parliament has demanded that the Brexit transition period be extended to protect Welsh businesses.
Said Mr Davies, “All our focus must be on mitigating the damaging circumstances of coronavirus, which is expected to shrink the Welsh economy by 35%.
“Any further disruptions will be considerably damaging to the 25,000 jobs in Swansea Bay that rely on our current export deal with the EU.
“Welsh businesses have warned against the government rushing through a bad deal or no deal with the EU and with other third countries where trade is managed through agreements with the EU.
“This is complicated as it’s not just a deal with the EU we will need to broker, but with the whole world, at a time when we should be working together, as other countries are, to overcome this pandemic.
“Negotiation meetings have already been cancelled and its an insult to companies who are trying to deal with the Coronavirus crisis that the government would rush through a trade deal without proper care or scrutiny. Civil servants are rightly focused is on the pandemic so we need extra time to strike the best deal and avoid no deal.
“Swansea University takes 20 percent of its students from abroad and could lose out on £millions more in fees if a half baked Brexit deal is forced through in the middle of the coronavirus epidemic. Instead of making Wales poorer from a rushed withdrawal trade agreement from the EU Boris Johnson should be focussing all his attention on supporting the effort to tackle coronavirus. However, he risks inflicting on top of everything food, medicine and trade restrictions with a bad deal or no deal Brexit when he could simply extend the transition period.
“Our objective should be to minimise loss of life and to create conditions for our economy to recover. The UK Conservative Government has been slow to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and now it is needlessly risking the economic recovery we will need in its aftermath”.