Keir Starmer’s policy on Brexit is fully aligned with the Tories
The Labour leader must not be allowed to shrug off the negative impacts of Brexit, says Graham Webb. Plus letters from Chris Webster and John Richardson
Keir Starmer gave Simon Hattenstone several encouraging insights into his political beliefs and intentions (‘Stop talking about the problem – fix the bloody thing!’ Keir Starmer on Boris Johnson’s parties and his plan to win power, 19 January). The interview did, however, refer to one elephant-in-the-room contradiction. Many who would like to vote Labour will disagree with him when he says there is “no case for rejoining” the EU, “we’re out and we’re staying out”, and Brexit must be “made to work from the outside”.
Does Starmer not read the opinion polls on Brexit? He says that rather than talking about problems, he identifies what they are and then fixes them. One might have expected that after several years of shadowing Brexit secretaries, he would have identified the inevitable failure of a hopelessly undefined Brexit constrained by Theresa May’s red lines. How does he think he’s going to “fix” this still-open wound which is causing more and more damage to British life and young people’s prospects every day? He cannot and must not be allowed to shrug off the negative impacts of Brexit – as Boris Johnson would like him to. Brexit must be addressed honestly and positively. Labour’s electability is at stake.
• Keir Starmer explicitly rules out rejoining the European single market or customs union, thereby ruling out the most realistic solution to Brexit-related problems with import costs, export barriers, food supplies, energy costs, skills shortages and the Northern Ireland protocol, while also ensuring continued long-term economic damage to the UK.
The mood music may vary, but in practice Labour’s rightwing EU policy remains fully aligned with the Tories, the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) and Ukip (and its successors), as it has been for the last five years.
If Labour manages to win the next election, it will find itself committed to pursuing a destructive Tory hard Brexit policy, long after the people who wanted it have died off or changed their minds.
• Surely, I cannot be the only one who thinks that the defection of Christian Wakeford from the Conservatives (Report, 20 January), just over 24 months since standing on their manifesto, and his warm welcome by Keir Starmer says as much about the rightward drift of the Labour party as it does about the chaotic nature of this reactionary and incompetent government?
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