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Thursday, July 04, 2024

Labour abandons pro-EU voters

The Guardian reports that Keir Starmer has insisted the UK will not rejoin the EU, the single market or the customs union within his lifetime.

The paper says that the Labour leader told reporters on Wednesday he did not think Britain would go back into any of the three blocs while he was alive, all but ruling out rejoining even if he wins a second term in office:

With less than 24 hours to go until polls open, Starmer has largely avoided talking about relations with the EU during the campaign, as Labour seeks to avoid the mistakes it made in 2019 when it alienated Leave voters by promising a second referendum.

Some have suggested this reluctance to talk about the issue masked a desire to pursue re-entry to the customs union or single market during a second Labour term, something other senior figures in the party have failed to rule out. Starmer insisted on Wednesday, however, this was not the case.

Asked whether he could see any circumstances where the UK rejoined the single market or customs union within his lifetime, Starmer said: “No. I don’t think that that is going to happen. I’ve been really clear about not rejoining the EU, the single market or the customs union – or [allowing a] return to freedom of movement.”

He repeated, however, his view that Labour could achieve better trading arrangements with the EU in certain industries. “I do think we could get a better deal than the botched deal we got under Boris Johnson on the trading front, in research and development and on security,” he said.

How exactly Starmer expects to achieve the economic growth that Labour's plans are preditated on achieving without engaging with the EU is not explained. Whatever the answer, it is now clear that those who believe that we need to work more closely with the European Community have no friends in Labour.

If they want to secure higher growth by negotiating deals with the EU and even, perhaps, joining the single community, then their only option is the Liberal Democrats.
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