Keir Starmer insists Brexit agreement with EU is a ‘bad deal’
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Sir Keir Starmer was today put on the spot over Labour’s Brexit policy by James O’Brien. The LBC presenter grilled the Labour leader on his position that he would not take the UK back into the EU’s single market or customs union if his party takes power at the next general election.
Sir Keir insisted there is “no case” for rejoining the bloc, but said he would work with Brussels to improve the current Brexit deal.
He said: “We’ve left the EU now and there’s no case for going back in.
“But that doesn’t mean that the deal we’ve got is a good deal, it’s a bad deal, it wasn’t oven ready, it wasn’t cooked, it’s a very bad deal.
“We need to improve on that and have a closer trading relationship with the EU.
“The discussions we’re having with EU partners about that closer trading relationship, there’s a willingness to talk to a serious Labour Party and a serious incoming Labour government I hope.
“Across the EU they’re not saying you’ve got to come back in the EU, you’ve got to be in the single market.
“They want a discussion about how we have a closer trading relationship, how we have a closer security relationship, a closer relationship on research.
“What it requires is trust and good faith in the negotiations and that’s what’s been missing over these last few years.”
Mr O’Brien highlighted criticism by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of Sir Keir for not pushing to rejoin the EU.
The SNP leader told The News Agents podcast that Sir Keir was “unprincipled” and his party was a “pale imitation” of the Tories.
But the Labour leader, who is visiting Harlow Ambulance Station in Essex with deputy Angela Rayner today, hit back: “Can I firstly gently suggest to Nicola Sturgeon that she might want to roll up her sleeves and concentrate on the health service in Scotland.
“We’re talking about the ambulance crisis here, there’s been an ambulance crisis in Scotland for a very long time, the military driving the ambulances even last year.
“The education system is on its knees.
“So I think Nicola Sturgeon may want to spend a bit of time fixing some of the problems that are actually under her control in Scotland.”
It comes as Sir Keir has toughened his stance on Brexit in recent months.
But there are divisions within Labour over his approach, with London Mayor Sadiq Khan earlier this month calling for the UK to rejoin the single market.
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