I would like to thank Barry Bates for his letter of 25th June urging everyone to contact me to extend the Brexit transition period.

I would also like to take the opportunity to reiterate the General Election commitment that I made to the people of West Dorset. That commitment was to do all we can to get a deal with the European Union before leaving - and this is exactly what the Government is doing.

If it is not possible, my preference was to leave without a deal in order to deliver on the democratic mandate of 2016.

I understand the concern about coronavirus, as I’ve been at the forefront of the response here. However, I would like to assure you that, contrary to Mr Bates’ letter, not only will we not be accepting chlorinated chicken, nor hormone-injected beef, but we are in a far stronger position when negotiating with the EU too.

So, I would like to confirm that I will not be requesting an extension, nor do I believe that we will need one.

We are in a position of strength, while the EU27 struggles to align on a universal position. The OECD forecasts the UK’s growth in 2021 to be 2.5 percentage points ahead of the Eurozone. It is in the EU’s interests to have a deal and I am confident that we will get one.