Wales and Scotland boycott conference call with Number 10 after Brexit extension refused

Scottish and Welsh Government Ministers have decided to boycott a conference call with the UK Government after a decision not to extend the Brexit transition period.

On Friday, the first minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, along with Scotland's Nicola Sturgeon, wrote a letter to the Prime Minister saying there were "fundamental issues" between UK and EU negotiators after the most recent round of talks on a deal. They called for an extension because of the disruption caused by the coronavirus

But Michael Gove tweeted that there would be no request for an extension and sent a letter to the devolved governments without discussion.

A meeting to discuss preparations for next week’s high-level meeting between the Prime Minister and the Presidents of the European Commission, the European Council and the European Parliament was due to take place on Friday evening at 6pm.

In a joint statement, Jeremy Miles, Michael Russell, Jenny Gilruth and Welsh and Scottish representatives called the failure of an extension "reckless."

“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. In reality, the meetings we have had have simply been an opportunity for the UK Government to inform us of their views, not to listen or respond to ours.

“We will be writing to Michael Gove to seek a complete re-boot of these talks and meanwhile we want the EU 27 to know that the position being taken by the UK Government with regard to an extension of the transition period runs counter to the views of our governments and, in our opinion, risks doing serious damage to the people of our countries.

“Failing to request an extension at this time is a particularly reckless act given the damage coronavirus is doing to the economy and the impact on jobs.”

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “The Government was elected with a clear manifesto not to extend the transition. This position was endorsed by Parliament and reconfirmed by ministers in discussion with the devolved administrations.

“Extending would only exacerbate uncertainty for businesses and citizens, binding us into future EU legislation without us having any say in designing it to make sure it suits the interests of people in Wales, Scotland and across the whole UK.

“It would also mean large-scale payments to the EU and the UK remaining constrained by state aid rules, resulting in us in needing EU approval for support measures for Welsh and Scottish industries. Our focus now must be on making the most of the global opportunities that leaving the EU will bring."