Starmer shuts down caller as he rejects Brexit reversal demands

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Sir Keir Starmer pushed back against an LBC caller’s Brexit demand to either rejoin the European Union or the EU’s Single Market as he made it clear the Labour’s position has now changed. Given Mr Starmer originally campaigned to remain in the EU, caller John from Inverness said the Labour Party could return to its previous position and run on the promise of re-joining the EU’s Single Market or Customs Union in a bid to reclaim Red Wall seats.

John added membership in the EU’s economic spheres could bring Britain’s economy back on track.

But the Labour leader rejected it, telling the LBC caller: “John, it’s a straight no from me. We’re not going back into the EU. 

“That isn’t the position of my party. That isn’t what an incoming Labour government would do. 

“We do think that we should make Brexit work. I think all that’s happened so far is we’ve got Brexit done in the sense that we’re out of the EU. 

“I think we’ve got to make it work now. And that does mean reducing those barriers to trade, fixing those problems in relation to the Protocol in Northern Ireland and having more cooperation on security.”

“But John, on your fundamental question of going back into the EU, it’s a straight no. 

“We had a vote in 2016. We do not want to go back in. We want to make Brexit work.”

Nick Ferrari proceeded to ask what is the answer to the Northern Ireland Protocol issue. 

Mr Starmer said: “I think there are a number of things that we could do. 

“I went over to Dublin and Belfast to talk this through with businesses. The businesses in Northern Ireland say: ‘Look, we don’t much like the Protocol but we’re working with it. We spent a lot of money now making it work. So, don’t rip it up’.

Mr Starmer rejected Liz Truss’ controversial Northern Ireland Protocol bill, which would rip apart the current Protocol.

The Labour Party previously called for another referendum following the razor-thin gap in the 2016 vote. But its leader switched gears in July, vowing to “make Brexit work” instead of re-joining the bloc. 

Mr Starmer made it clear that going back to the EU in any form – whether it is in the Single Market, the Customs Union or the free-travel Schengen Area – is not on the table. 

He said: “We are going forwards not backwards, not reopening those divisions. I don’t think reopening all the old wounds and going backwards is going to help us on that mission to drive the economy.”

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The Labour Party’s 5-point Brexit plan includes breaking the border checks in the Irish Sea to resolve Northern Ireland Protocol issue, tearing down “unnecessary” trade barriers and border checks with the EU, mutually recognising professional qualifications and restoring access to the EU’s funding and vital research programmes, restoring security cooperation with the bloc, and investing in Britain by redistributing wealth across the country.

Laying out his plan at the Centre for European Reform, Mr Starmer said the Conservative Party failed to achieve a “better, fairer, more equitable future for our country” with the Brexit deal. 

“The Tories have no idea how to do it. Labour does. Labour has a plan. And this plan, a plan to make Brexit work, is the first stage of delivering on that change and delivering a better future for our country.”

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