Michael Gove said the impact of the virus on Brexit talks is a “live question” | Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
Michael Gove: Coronavirus could delay Brexit talks
UK Cabinet minister insisted the Brexit transition period will not be extended.
Updated 3/11/20, 1:08 PM CET
LONDON — U.K. Cabinet minister Michael Gove suggested the next round of Brexit talks could be canceled amid the coronavirus crisis.
The British representative on the so-called joint committee, which is tasked with implementing the Withdrawal Agreement, said the impact of the virus on Brexit talks is a “live question.”
Speaking to the House of Commons’ Future Relationship with the European Union Committee, Gove said: “We were also looking forward to the next stage of negotiations going ahead but we have had indications today from Belgium there may be specific public health concerns.”
However, he insisted the Brexit transition period, which is due to end in December this year, will not be extended.
The next round of talks is set to begin on March 18, while the joint committee is scheduled to meet on March 30.
Gove made the comments after the EU ambassador to the U.K., João Vale de Almeida refused to rule out a delay. Asked on BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program if the epidemic might affect the timing or the substance of the deal, he said: “I don’t think we can exclude anything at this point in time, given the magnitude of this crisis.”
A Downing Street spokesperson told journalists Tuesday there are no plans to delay discussions,