“Is it a U-turn?” : What Keir Starmer Said About Fixing Brexit | Keir Starmer
Keir Starmer was so attached to the outcome of the Brexit referendum in June 2016 that he stepped down as a junior shadow minister under Jeremy Corbyn.
Months later he returned to the Labor front as shadow Brexit secretary and spent the next four years campaigning to mitigate the outcome, which he described as ‘catastrophic’, while holding voters back in the constituencies of the “red wall”.
But he was a remnant.
He campaigned against a no-deal Brexit and for a second referendum to give the people a ‘confirmation vote’ on any deal with Brussels.
Yet in a speech on Monday evening, the Labor leader will make it clear that the party will neither seek to reverse Brexit nor soften Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit by returning to the single market which included the free movement of people and goods across Europe. EU.
Is this a U-turn from Starmer? The former Director of Public Prosecutions tried to maintain a delicate and diplomatic balance amid divided opinions on Brexit within his party, supporters and constituents.
Here is a brief reminder of what he has said in the past.
“The outcome of the EU referendum was catastrophic for the UK, for our communities and for the next generation.” – Starmer’s resignation letter to Jeremy Corbyn.
Labor was divided on the single market issue due to its support for immigration controls in pro-Brexit constituencies.
In 2018 the party rejected an amendment to the Withdrawal Bill that would keep Britain in the European Economic Area (EEA) and single market, with Starmer proposing closer ties with the EU and promising to negotiate a free-flow version. The EU dismissed it as “cake”, saying the four freedoms that came with the single market – goods, capital, services and people – were not “divisible”.
Starmer continued on the Labor tightrope at the party conference later that year.
But in a surprise ad lib comment, he delighted many in the auditorium when he said, “No one is ruling out staying as an option.”
Starmer’s remaining wishes would be a choice in a second referendum. It should give voters the choice of a “credible leave agreement and stay”, he told the BBC’s Today programme.
In the aftermath of the European Parliament elections, which put Labor third behind the Brexit party and the Lib Dems, he showed his remaining colors again.
“In the aftermath of the local elections and in particular the European elections, many members of the Labor Party feel that we must be very clear about a second referendum and the need to stay,” he said.
“That’s certainly what I’m advocating, discussions are ongoing at the moment, hopefully we can resolve it very soon, and that will be a big step in the right direction as far as I’m concerned.”
After Lord Frost’s rocky Brexit deal, Starmer ditched the free movement of people pledge he made during the Labor leadership race.
“I don’t think there is room for a major renegotiation. We have just had four years of negotiations. We have come to a treaty and now we have to make this treaty work,” he said.
“Some say, ‘We don’t need to make Brexit work, we need to reverse it.’
“I couldn’t disagree more.
“Because you cannot move forward or develop the country or bring about change or regain the trust of those who have lost faith in politics if you are constantly focused on the arguments of the past,” he told the Center for European Reform.