‘Any excuse!’ Ian Blackford condemned over SNP bid to exploit coronavirus to delay Brexit

And Mr Kawczynski said the EU’s sluggish reaction to the crisis underlined precisely why the UK needed to extricate itself from the bloc as soon as possible. In his letter, Mr Blackford urges Mr Johnson to seek an extension to the current transition period in a bid to focus resources and efforts on tackling the pandemic – claiming failure to do would be “beyond reckless”. He added: “We are not asking you to change your views on Brexit – we are simply asking you to recognise reality.”

Mr Blackford said: “While the Prime Minister and I will never agree on Brexit, I hope we can at least agree that the Covid-19 crisis needs to be the priority.

“This isn’t about fighting old battles or rehearsing old arguments – it’s about recognising the needs of people right now.”

However, Shrewsbury and Atcham MP Mr Kawczynski was unconvinced.

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He told Express.co.uk: “He’s been very meticulous in maintaining this logical argument which argument which many on the Remain side will try to emulate.

“But the catastrophic response of the European Union to this virus and its inability to support individual countries demonstrates precisely why we have to be out of this inefficient organisation as quickly as possible.

“When we come out with this nightmare, we will need to kickstart our economies as quickly as possible.

“That will mean to a certain degree a race to support certain industries, maybe even with government funding.

“Which of course the European Union would prevent because it has its rules and regulations.

“It is precisely because we have so much to do in reinvigorating our economy, that we need to have every possible tool at our disposal just like any normal national sovereign government in order to be able to do that.”

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Mr Blackford represents a rump of opinion in this country that have not accepted Brexit, and unfortunately will use any excuse to prevent it from happening

Daniel Kawczynski

Mr Kawczynski added: “Mr Blackford represents a rump of opinion in this country that have not accepted Brexit, and unfortunately will use any excuse to prevent it from happening.

“And now he is turning to this crisis and trying to use that, as a stick to beat the government.

“We are perfectly capable of dealing with this terrible pandemic whilst negotiating with the European Union.

“Government is continuing online. I see no reason why negotiations can’t take place video conferencing and online.

“They don’t need to be face to face.

“And I would strongly argue that the Prime Minister to do both things extricate us by the December 31, and deal with the coronavirus.”

A UK Government spokeswoman said: “Our top priority as a Government is to slow the spread of the coronavirus, protect the NHS and keep people safe.

“We are working around the clock to do so, with all four nations together providing unprecedented financial support for businesses, workers and the self-employed.

“We remain fully committed to the negotiations. Last week, the UK and EU shared draft legal texts and discussions with the commission are continuing.

“The transition period ends on December 31, 2020, as enshrined in UK law, which the Prime Minister has made clear he has no intention of changing.”

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