What has Keir Starmer been smoking?

The Labour leadership frontrunner won’t rule out campaigning to rejoin the EU.


Topics Brexit Politics UK

Just a few weeks after saying that Brexit was a done deal, Labour leadership frontrunner Keir Starmer has refused to rule out campaigning to rejoin the EU.

At a hustings in Dudley today – a pro-Brexit, former Labour stronghold where Labour lost both its seats to the Tories at the last election – Rebecca Long-Bailey asked her fellow candidates whether they would rule out campaigning to rejoin at the 2024 election.

Both Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy did. But Starmer was more equivocal. He said it wasn’t ‘a priority for now and the immediate future’, and when pressed he refused to rule it out, waffling something about it being the decision of ‘our kids’.

This follows Starmer’s fanciful comments recently that voters in Labour’s former heartlands, millions of whom deserted the party for the Tories, actually agree with him that EU freedom of movement should continue.

While, yes, Starmer is trying to appeal to the overwhelmingly pro-EU Labour membership, that doesn’t really explain why he has backtracked on rejoining, given the other candidates have ruled it out and he is already coasting to victory.

Clearly, the shadow Brexit secretary, who was the architect of Labour’s disastrous pro-second-referendum position, cannot let Brussels go. So much so that he would rather drive a wedge further between Labour and working-class voters than admit he has lost the argument.

That sound you hear is champagne corks popping in Downing Street.

Picture by: Getty.

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Linda Payne

9th March 2020 at 5:07 pm

People forget how repressive the Blair government was. I was bullied and sacked from the only career I’ve had without a reference because apparantly management had to ‘watch out’ for staff with mental health problems (Shipman recommendations), what followed was a breakdown and worsening mental health only to be discharged from all help in 2007 because of Burnhams ‘reforms’ that bascially said ‘get rid of the dead wood on your lists so we can make way for mass CBT. Many nurses were ‘sacked’ thousands of mentally ill people cut off from help and they claim to care for the NHS and NOONE wants to talk about it

Chester Minnit

9th March 2020 at 1:33 pm

By the way, I’m all for free speech but can’t Spiked! do something about all these spam messages?!

Chester Minnit

9th March 2020 at 1:25 pm

Perhaps one day we’ll go back to the good old days when politicians ran the country and people had thicker skin. I blame the parents.

Philip Humphrey

9th March 2020 at 12:45 pm

That along with the suspension of Trevor Phillips today suggests to me that the Labour party still doesn’t get it. The electorate (outside the metropolitan bubble) is unlikely to want to rejoin the EU anytime soon if ever. And in the meantime Labour is being torn apart by identity politics, Trevor Phillips is just the latest victim. How that is ever going to win votes is a bit beyond me.

Glenn Bell

9th March 2020 at 12:43 pm

I don’t trust any of our politicians, not a single one of them, they all lie, they all do whatever they have to do, not for the good of their constituents and the country, but for them selves, to keep them on the Westminster gravy train and retain their place at the trough. If Starmer wants the UK to rejoin the EU he has his own vested interests for it, he isn’t thinking about the UK, its current population or our children, its what HE wants for HIM

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