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Labour does not plan to rejoin EU, Starmer says, after claim Brexit at risk

22 Jun 2024 3 minute read
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch, Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Labour has no plans to rejoin the EU, Sir Keir Starmer has said, after Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch claimed Brexit would be at risk if he became Prime Minister.

She described Brexit as a “10 or 20-year project” in an interview with the Telegraph newspaper, and claimed any benefits would disappear under a Labour government.

But Sir Keir ruled out re-joining the EU while speaking to reporters during a campaign visit in south London.

“We are not re-joining the EU, we are not re-joining the single market or the customs union,” the Labour leader said.

Asked if he would ever reconsider this, Sir Keir added: “No. It isn’t our plan, it never has been, I’ve never said that as leader of the Labour Party and it is not in our manifesto.”

‘Better deal’

He said he wanted a better trade relationship with the EU and “much more collaboration” on research and development, education, security, and other areas, adding that it was all subject to negotiation.

“But I do think we can get a better deal with the EU, and if we are elected to government that is what we will endeavour to do,” he said.

Asked by the PA news agency about support for rejoining the EU among young people who did not get to vote in the referendum, Sir Keir said it was the “nature” of a one-off referendum that only the electorate at the time were able to take part.

He added: “I would also say this, I voted to remain. I campaigned to remain.

“But what that referendum did was to throw politics into turmoil for three years, between 2016 to 2019 our Parliament couldn’t get anything done.

“It caused huge uncertainty and I don’t think returning to that kind of division and uncertainty is actually going to help us rebuild our economy, rebuild our country, grow the wealth and create the wealth that we need, or the secure jobs of the future.”


The Brexit referendum took place eight years ago on June 23, 2016.

Speaking to the Telegraph Ms Badenoch countered criticism of the progress made on leaving the EU since then.

She said: “This is a 10 or 20-year project. We’ve just started.

“It’s like building a house and someone comes in and says ‘oh, he’s not done yet, he’s failed’. Or you’re cooking something and, five minutes later, ‘it’s not cooked yet, it’s not working, let’s stop’.”

She claimed the Tories were trying to focus on a strategy of getting benefits from Brexit, adding: “That’s something that’s going to disappear if Labour come in, they will take us backwards.

“They will take us back to square one. They’re just going to copy the EU.”

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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
22 days ago

Badenuff is the current bookies favourite to be the next Tory leader. She only has a week and a half left to make any benefits of Break-it appear if Starmer is going to make them disappear which is more likely what she will do after July 4th.

22 days ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

I don’t think it’ll matter. The Tories will (deservedly) be toast in a couple of weeks. I predict that the new Labour government will be an absolute catastrophe, which will become clear within 12 months, and in 2029 we’ll be treated to a full term of Prime Minister Farage.

Last edited 22 days ago by Adrian
Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
22 days ago
Reply to  Adrian

That is why Wales must make a declaration of independence before then.

One thing Brexit has made disappear is the steel industry at Port Talbot.
Brexit has also inflicted damage to our farm trade with Europe.

Starmers’ Labour said they will not be voting to rejoin the EU ?
Don’t worry, We will not be voting for Starmer’s party and Badenoch can get out of our affairs, her party already made a mess in England.

Lets vote Plaid Cymru and get out of this mess and take our place as a new nation within Europe.

21 days ago
Reply to  Adrian

I think most moderate Tories would be horrified at the prospect of having Farage as their leader, especially after his remarks about Putin. If this does happen they will either hold their nose and vote to keep Starmer in power, or switch to the Lib Dems.

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
21 days ago
Reply to  Rob

If Farage becomes leader I reckon the party will split. He’s too toxic for many moderate Conservatives.

John Ellis
John Ellis
20 days ago
Reply to  Steve A Duggan

I rather doubt that their party will actually split, essentially because it’s too tribal for that.

But what I suspect the Tory party will find is that a large number of traditional ‘one nation’ moderate but non-activist Tory voters will give up on their allegiance to the Conservative party, with the consequence that it’ll become a hard right extreme rump with no realistic prospect any longer of being the normative party of government.

Last edited 20 days ago by John Ellis
John Ellis
John Ellis
20 days ago

My view is that there’s no practical prospect of any UK-wide political party even remotely toying with the notion of seeking to rejoin either the single market or the customs union, much less attempting to entirely roll back on Brexit and seek for Britain to re-join the EU. Why? Because while I don’t doubt that if the 2016 referendum could somehow be re-run now, the majority of voters would opt for ‘remain’, there are some things around which you can’t feasibly just try and turn the clock back. And so far, from the polls which I’ve seen, the proportion of… Read more »

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