Majority of Welsh voters want Brexit transition period extended – poll

A Wales and Europe flag at a People’s Vote march. Picture by Ilovetheeu (CC 4.0)

A majority of Welsh voters believe the Brexit transition period should be extended, a new poll has found.

58% of Welsh voters say the UK government should request an extension to the Brexit transition period because of the coronavirus outbreak.

That’s compared to 37% who support ending the transition as planned on December 31, while 4% were undecided.

The figures were revealed in an Ipsos-Mori poll commissioned by the Health Foundation which showed UK voters support an extension by 54% to 40%.

Scotland had the highest level of support for an extension at 64%, followed by north-west England (63%), London (62%) and then Wales.

 

‘Dismissed’

The findings come days after the Welsh and Scottish governments clashed with the UK government over the issue.

Ministers from the four UK governments were due to discuss Brexit in a videoconference on Friday.

But the Welsh and Scottish representatives pulled out in protest at the UK government’s decision to formally reject earlier that day.

“We cannot accept a way of working in which the views of the devolved governments are simply dismissed before we have had a chance to discuss them,” said a joint statement from the Welsh and Scottish Brexit ministers, Jeremy Miles and Michael Russell.

First Minister Mark Drake and his Scottish counterpart Nicola Sturgeon later sent a joint letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to “take the final opportunity” to ask for an extension.

“No-one could reproach the UK government for changing its position in the light of the wholly unforeseeable Covid-19 crisis, particularly as the EU has made it clear it is open to an extension request,” it said.

However, Johnson pressed on with his strategy in a meeting with EU leaders on Monday.

A joint EU-UK statement on the talks “noted the UK’s decision not to request any extension to the transition period” despite a consensus that “new momentum was required” to find an agreement in time to avoid a no-deal scenario.

The north-east and south-west of England are the only areas with a majority against an extension, according to the poll.

It also found 86% of Welsh voters want the UK to work closely with the EU to combat the coronavirus, compared to 13% who oppose cooperation.

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