On 23 June it will be four long years since the people of Britain voted to leave the European Union. Yet we’re not out, instead, we’re stuck in round after round of negotiations, bogged down in a transition that entrenched interests are seeking to turn into a cul-de-sac.

But matters are coming to a head. If there is to be an extension to the transition, it must be sought and agreed before the end of June. The EU has already said it will agree to one, if we ask for it.

And you can see why they want us to. They need our money, and they need our markets. The European Commission wants member states to agree to its borrowing €750 billion on the currency markets to finance (mostly) a Covid-19 recovery fund to be doled out by the Commission.

In 2018 – the last year for which there are final figures – Britain had a balance of payments deficit of £66 billion with the EU. (Compare that with a balance of payments surplus with the rest of the world of £77 billion.)

Amid the chaos, the one clear fact is that an extension to the transition period would be a leap in the dark. There is no way that we would or could know what we would be letting ourselves in for.

Potentially, probably, we would be liable for ‘our share’ of €750 billion of debt. And that on top of all the other uncertainties of remaining under the EU’s diktat, paying unknown contributions and being bound by unknown future commitments.

Four years, and still no final agreement. If agreement with the EU were possible, it would have taken place already. No transition extension! Walk away, as we should have done four years ago. Let’s get on with the tasks that face us as an independent country at last,

Will Podmore

Clavering Road, Wanstead