Keir Starmer Pledges To 'Make Brexit Work' As He Rules Out Any Deals With The SNP

Party leader Sir Keir Starmer making his keynote address during the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool. (Photo: Peter Byrne - PA Images via Getty Images)
Party leader Sir Keir Starmer making his keynote address during the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool. (Photo: Peter Byrne - PA Images via Getty Images)

Party leader Sir Keir Starmer making his keynote address during the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool.  (Photo: Peter Byrne - PA Images via Getty Images)

Keir Starmer has said Labour will “make Brexit work” if it wins the next election as he accused the Tories of betraying those who voted to leave the EU.

The Labour leader also insisted he would not do a deal with the SNP “under any circumstances” if the party fails to win a majority when the UK next goes to the polls.

He made the comments in his keynote speech to the Labour conference in Liverpool.

Unlike last year’s speech, in which Starmer was heckled by left-wing activists, the 50-minute address was warmly received inside the hall and featured several standing ovations.

Starmer, who was the driving force behind Labour’s push for a second EU referendum before the 2019 election, challenged his party to accept that the results of the 2016 Brexit referendum will not be reversed.

Instead, he said his government would seek to address the concerns of Leave voters.

“The policy of my Labour Government will always be to make Brexit work. It’s no secret I voted Remain – as the prime minister did.

“But what I heard across the country was people who thought we’d got our priorities wrong. Who wanted democratic control over their lives, but who also wanted opportunities for the next generation, communities they felt proud of, public services they could rely on.

“I didn’t hear that Brexit was about slashing workers’ rights. I didn’t hear people wanting to lower standards on food, animal welfare or the environment. I didn’t hear them wanting to end redistribution.

“So I want to speak directly to the people who left Labour on this issue. Whether you voted Leave or Remain, you’ve been let down.

“And with Liz Truss, the Tories are changing the meaning of Brexit before your eyes.

“If you voted for government to step in on your side for better work, higher wages, more opportunities in your community, for an NHS that is modern and reliable.

“If you voted to take control of your life and for the next generation to have control of theirs, then I say to you: that is what I will deliver.”

Starmer said a Labour government would “make sure we buy, make and sell more in Britain”, improve public services and control immigration.

“Labour will make Brexit work, Labour will deliver change,” he said. “You’ll never get that from the Tories. And you won’t get it from the SNP either.”

The Conservatives are expected to repeat their successful 2015 election tactic of warning that Labour would be forced to rely on SNP votes to run the country if there is a hung parliament.

In an attempt to take that head-on, Starmer insisted any form of deal with the nationalists was off the table.

He said: “The challenges we face – the cost-of-living crisis, climate change, standing up to Putin – are common across our four nations.

“We saw off the threat of fascism and deadly disease together. We built the NHS and the welfare state together.

“But I don’t believe in our union just because of our history. I believe in it because of our future.

“I know we can meet the great challenges to come. Build new beacons of fairness that light up the islands we share.

“Scotland needs a Labour government that can deliver change. But it also needs the power and resources to shape its own future, whoever’s in power in Westminster. And the SNP are not interested in this.

“For them, Scotland’s success in the UK is met with gritted teeth, seen as a roadblock to independence, and so, they stand in the way.

“We can’t work with them. We won’t work with them. No deal under any circumstances.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.