Keir Starmer, Britain’s opposition leader, is currently in Canada, engaging in round-table talks with global leaders from centre-left political factions. He expressed his desire to negotiate a superior deal for Brexit to the one currently in place if his Labour Party emerges victoriously in the next general elections.
During an interview with the Financial Times, he voiced his concerns about the thin nature of the present deal, scheduled for reassessment in 2025. He was categorical about his stand on not seeking reentry into organisations from which Britain withdrew, whether it is the customs union, the single market, or the European Union (EU). His consistent stand on not moving towards EU reinstatement, if Labour wins power, is embedded in his motto to “make Brexit work”.
Starmer’s comments were made at a convocation comprised of the global centre-left leadership in Montreal, Canada. Changes in the agreement finalised by the previous Conservative Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, in 2021 might pose challenges, as it is uncertain whether Brussels would be inclined towards such substantial revisions.
With a consistent double-figure lead in political opinion polls, the Labour party anticipates a general election around the corner in 2024. Starmer expressed his dissatisfaction with Johnson’s current deal, stating, “Almost everyone recognises the deal struck is not a good deal – it’s far too thin.”
He articulated his aspirations of striving for a superior deal for Britain as they move into 2025. However, he did not mention which specific aspects of the deal he would like to improve. Starmer remained optimistic about achieving a better deal with Brussels and accentuated on the need for a closer trading alliance.
In voicing his determination to make the existing circumstances work, he shared, “We have to make it work. That’s not a question of going back in, but I refuse to accept that we can’t make it work.” He reiterated his concerns for future generations and made a personal reference to his role as a father.
Starmer is currently forging alliances with centre-left leaders in Canada, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. A visit to Paris to discuss post-Brexit relations with French President Emmanuel Macron is also on his itinerary for the coming week. Last week, his trip to the Hague in the Netherlands facilitated a meeting with the EU’s law enforcement agency Europol to discuss ways of curbing smuggling operations across the channel.
However, his actions have been criticised by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman,who claimed that if the Labour party gains power, Britain would become a “dumping ground” for migrants. Starmer dismissed these allegations as “complete garbage”.