Starmer's Latest Interpretation Of Brexit Fails To Read The Room, Again

"Painful to witness Starmer in tortuous arguments about 'making Brexit work' when it clearly can’t and won’t."
Keir Starmer told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that there is "no case" for rejoining the single market right now
Keir Starmer told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that there is "no case" for rejoining the single market right now
BBC Radio 4 Today programme

Keir Starmer has dismissed suggestions that rejoining the EU’s single market would boost the British economy right now – but it seems few people agree.

The Labour leader was unveiling his party’s proposals to reset the UK in a bid for economic growth on Monday when he touched on the controversial topic.

Host of BBC Radio 4′s Today programme, Mishal Husain, asked Starmer: “Would membership of the single market boost economic growth?”

“No at this stage I don’t think it would, and there’s no case for going back into the EU or going back into the single market,” Starmer replied.

“I do think there’s a case for a better Brexit, I do think there’s a very strong case for making Brexit work.”

Starmer, who campaigned as a Remainer before the EU referendum in 2016, now claims that the UK’s decline in trade comes down to the actual Brexit deal currently in place – which he described as “not very good”.

He said: “I think we can move from getting Brexit done, to making Brexit work, and I do think there’s a better deal.

“Do I think that going back into years of wrangling, years of uncertainty, is going to help our economy? No, I don’t.”

Brexit did dominate headlines for years as the country was divided over what kind of exit would be best, meaning the UK did not officially leave the bloc until 2020.

But, since taking over as Labour leader (having been the shadow Brexit secretary under Jeremy Corbyn), Starmer has tried to shut down any suggestions of going back into the EU.

He also said a Labour government would not try to bring back freedom of movement for EU citizens, even though he promised to “defend freedom of movement” during the leadership contest – a stance which has drawn some intense criticism.

On Monday, Husain also asked if Starmer would be “bold enough” to revisit these claims about joining the single market if stagflation – a contradictory stance of high inflation combined with economic stagnation – were to kick in in the future.

Starmer just replied: “I understand, and will absolutely improve on the deal that we’ve got. But let’s just recognise that the low growth in our economy has been going on for 12 years.

“It preceded Brexit, it preceded Covid and it preceded Ukraine.

“There is something fundamental about the way our economy works,” he claimed. “We have to answer the question why does our economy not work for all places across the whole of the UK?”

But the UK is currently in recession and leading economists believe leaving the EU has added £210 to the average household bill.

Last month, the Bank of England’s Swati Dhingra told MPs that real wages in the UK are lower in the UK because of the EU referendum six years ago.

She added that Brexit has contributed to a 6% rise in UK food prices too, with inflation reaching a 41-year-high.

In fact, a November poll from YouGov found 56% of the British public, including both Remainers and Leavers, thought it was wrong for the UK to leave the EU – the highest proportion of voters yet who believe Brexit was the wrong move.

So it’s not surprising that people did not exactly agree with Starmer on Monday...

Others pointed out that the Labour leader even claimed that “the benefits of the single market and customs union are crucial” back in 2018.

Some were more optimistic, and speculated Starmer might have left the door open to rejoining the single market.

Others just reacted in pure disbelief.


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