Keir Starmer during a visit to Birmingham to meet frontline staff from a domestic violence refuge.
Labour will not try to bring back freedom of movement for European Union citizens if the party wins the next election, Keir Starmer has declared.
He told the Mail on Sunday it was a “red line” he was not prepared to cross should be become prime minister.
The comments are at odds with what he said during the Labour leadership contest, when he vowed to “defend freedom of movement as we leave the EU”.
Starmer also accused allies of Rishi Sunak of wanting to renegotiate the Brexit deal struck between the UK and EU following reports that senior government figures want to pursue a Swiss-style agreement with the bloc.
The Labour leader said “ripping up the Brexit deal would lead to years more wrangling and arguing”, which he was not prepared to do.
He said: “A Swiss deal simply wouldn’t work for Britain. We’ll have a stronger trading relationship and we’ll reduce red tape for British business – but freedom of movement is a red line for me.
“It was part of the deal of being in the EU but since we left I’ve been clear it won’t come back under my government.”
Starmer's made clear his support for free movement when he was running to be Labour leader.
Elsewhere in the interview, Starmer said he wants to “get on with what the country wants” instead of trying to broker a fresh trade agreement with Brussels.
“Ripping up the Brexit deal would lead to years more wrangling and arguing, when we should be facing the future,” he said.