THE EU's chief negotiator has told opposition politicians he would support an extension to the Brexit transition period.

In a letter to the SNP's Ian Blackford and several other MPs, Michel Barnier said the bloc 'remains open' to an extension and is keen to work with all politicians on how to move forward.

His missive was in response to a letter from the SNP, Labour, the Lib Dems, Greens, Plaid Cymru and the Northern Irish Alliance party sent earlier this month raising the possibility fo an extension to the negotiations.

It comes after Boris Johnson and Michael Gove has repeatedly ruled out asking for extra time over the trade settlement.

Mr Barnier wrote: "The European Union remains determined to build a new and ambitious partnership with the United Kingdom in the short time that is available, given your government’s repeated statements that it will not agree to an extension of the transition period.

"I take note of your views on a possible extension of the transition period. Such an extension of up to one or two years can be agreed jointly by the two parties.

"The European Union has always said that we remain open on this matter. Any extension decision has to be taken by the Joint Committee before 1 July, and must be accompanied by an agreement on a financial contribution by the United Kingdom."

He also states that the EU will continue to 'do its utmost' to reach a fair deal between the UK and the bloc, adding: "Regardless of the extension issue, please rest assured that the EU side will continue to do its utmost to reach an ambitious and balanced partnership agreement with the United Kingdom, along the lines agreed with the Government of the United Kingdom in the Political Declaration in October 2019.

"My team and I remain at your disposal for any further exchanges."

Ian Blackford, the SNP's Wesminster leader said: "Boris Johnson must finally put his responsibilities to jobs, living standards and the economy first - and urgently agree the two-year extension on offer to the transition period.

"It would be madness to pile a Brexit crisis on top of the coronavirus crisis we already face - with unemployment soaring, businesses shedding jobs, and many struggling to survive.

"Time is running out. There is just a month left to agree an extension to prevent the UK crashing out with a devastating bad deal or a catastrophic No-Deal.

"If the Prime Minister fails to agree an extension he will be responsible for every job lost, every income slashed, and every business that goes under as a result of his bad Brexit deal.

"The SNP will continue to press for a long extension to protect Scotland's economy - but the only way to guarantee Scotland's interests and protect our place at the heart of Europe is to become an independent country."