Tory fury over Keir Starmer push to unwind Brexit by rewriting EU deal in 2025 – as Labour leader posts ‘PM-in-waiting’ video of himself cuddling up to left-wing leaders in Montreal
Tories have voiced alarm after Keir Starmer vowed to rewrite the Brexit deal if he becomes PM.
The Labour leader said he wants to rewrite the deal painstakingly assembled since the referendum to restore closer ties with the EU – although he insisted the UK would not be a member state.
The intervention, in an interview with the Financial Times, came as Sir Keir posted a glossy video showing him meeting and greeting left-wing politicians at a summit in Montreal over the weekend.
The visit was the latest phase of a tour designed to show Sir Keir as a PM-in-waiting – which continues later this week with a trip to Paris to meet Emmanuel Macron.
Keir Starmer posted a glossy video showing him meeting and greeting left-wing politicians including Justin Trudeau (right) at a summit in Montreal over the weekend
As well as footage of Sir Keir chatting with Justin Trudeau, the clip included a fleeting appearance by Tony Blair
Sir Keir did a panel event with Jonas Gahr Støre (left) at the summit in Montreal
Tories have voiced alarm after Keir Starmer vowed to rewrite the Brexit deal if he becomes PM
As well as footage of Sir Keir chatting with Justin Trudeau, the clip included a fleeting appearance by Tony Blair.
Labour has long been critical of the deal negotiated under Boris Johnson, with the Trade and Cooperation Agreement up for review in 2025.
But Conservatives believe the party is vulnerable on the issue given Sir Keir’s strong backing for Remain, and calls for a second referendum.
Sir Keir has ruled out rejoining the customs union or single market, said he was confident a better deal could be secured from Brussels.
He told the FT: ‘Almost everyone recognises the deal Johnson struck is not a good deal – it’s far too thin.
‘As we go into 2025 we will attempt to get a much better deal for the UK.’
He added: ‘I do think we can have a closer trading relationship as well. That’s subject to further discussion.’
‘We have to make it work. That’s not a question of going back in. But I refuse to accept that we can’t make it work. I think about those future generations when I say that.
‘I say that as a dad. I’ve got a 15-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl. I’m not going to let them grow up in a world where all I’ve got to say to them about their future is, it’s going to be worse than it might otherwise have been.
‘I’ve got an utter determination to make this work.’
A Tory spokesman said: ‘Seven years on from the referendum, Keir Starmer wants to take Britain back to square one on Brexit, reopening the arguments of the past all over again.
‘Keir Starmer backed Remain, then wanted a second Brexit referendum, yet now he says he accepts it. Just after he became Labour leader he promised to ‘make the case for freedom of movement’, now he doesn’t. Three years ago he promised he wouldn’t seek major changes to the UK’s new relationship with the EU, but now his latest short term position is that he will.
‘What price would Keir Starmer be prepared to pay to the EU for renegotiating our relationship?’
In an apparent U-turn, Sir Keir said yesterday that it was ‘complete garbage’ to suggest Labour planned to join an EU-wide migrant quota scheme as part of efforts to tackle small boat crossings in the Channel.
Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman have accused Labour of planning to let the UK become a ‘dumping ground’ for 100,000 migrants from the EU each year.
Sir Keir was pictured having talks with former Sweden PM Magdalena Anderson at the summit
Sir Keir had indicated he could agree to take a quota of asylum seekers who arrive in the bloc in exchange for the ability to return people who cross the English Channel.
‘The idea that we’re going to join the EU scheme on quotas is complete nonsense. We’re not an EU member and that wasn’t what I was talking about,’ Sir Keir told Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips on Sky News.
Labour is also facing renewed pressure from its main union backer Unite, which is reportedly set to launch a grassroots campaign to call for more radical policies on energy and steel.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham, who has called for public ownership of energy and has been critical of Sir Keir in the past, told The Guardian the union would be targeting so-called ‘red wall’ areas as part of a bid to put pressure on the leadership.
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