Express.co.uk readers can vote in our poll on whether Boris Johnson should ask the EU for an extension to the transition period. Britain and Brussels have until the end of the year to strike a free trade deal and the fourth round of negotiations is taking place this week.
In his letter to Mr Gove, the pro-Remain London Mayor insisted the “last thing” the UK needs is “more chaos and uncertainty” during the coronavirus crisis.
Mr Khan said: “No one anticipated when voting for Brexit that the key negotiations would take place at a time when all governments are rightly focused on fighting a global pandemic.
“The last thing the country needs as it tries to find a way back from the devastation wreaked by coronavirus is more chaos and uncertainty.
“I urge the Government to put political ideology aside and pursue the pragmatic route of seeking an extension to the negotiations so that we and our European partners can focus on recovery from Covid-19.”
Readers can vote in our poll on whether Boris Johnson should ask the EU for an extension
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has written to Michael Gove calling for an extension to the Brexit transition period
The London Mayor said coronavirus is the “biggest health, social and economic emergency” since the Second World War.
He continued: “Further disruption, in the form of tariffs, red tape and new immigration rules when we leave the single market and customs union at the end of the year, would be needless and hazardous.
“Close regulatory alignment with the EU has never been more vital to protect our economy and support its recovery from the impacts of Covid-19.”
Mr Khan added that an extension to the December 31 2020 deadline is “urgently needed”.
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Britain and Brussels have until the end of the year to strike a free trade deal and the fourth round of negotiations is taking place this week
He said: “The Government’s negotiations with the EU and other countries are highly unlikely to progress towards meaningful results and agreements while the pandemic continues.
“An extension to the transition period is now urgently needed to give businesses and public services some certainty that they won’t face another cliff edge in six months’ time.
“Otherwise the Government risks undermining the unprecedented steps it has taken to protect jobs and livelihoods, by prolonging uncertainty about our economy and the terms on which future trade will be conducted.”
The Prime Minister has repeatedly ruled out extending the transition period despite claims the timeframe is too tight.
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Last Friday Mr Johnson’s Europe adviser David Frost insisted the UK would reject any request from the EU to push back the deadline.
Mr Frost told the House of Lords EU Committee: “The Government’s position’s pretty clear that we are not going to ask for an extension and if the EU asks for one, we will not agree to that.
“So I think that’s just part of the framework now and we’re working to an end-year deadline.”
The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the EU was “open” to a two-year Brexit delay.
Trade talks have been continuing remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic
In a letter to the Westminster leaders of the SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, SDLP, Green Party and Alliance Party last Wednesday, he said the option was available if the UK wants it.
The group had written to Mr Barnier on May 15 calling for an extension to be agreed between Britain and Brussels.
The Brexit transition began when the UK legally left the EU on January 31 and runs until the end of the year.
Trade talks have been continuing remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.