Remainers No More: Leftist Labour Leader Promises not to Rejoin EU Single Market

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party gives a speech to guests at an event hosted by the Centre For European Reform on July 4, 2022 in London, England. Starmer's speech laid out his plan to "make Brexit work" instead of seeking to rejoin the …
Leon Neal/Getty Images

Despite calls from within his party, Labour leader Keir Starmer has promised that he would not push for Britain to rejoin the EU single market.

Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of Britain’s left-globalist Labour Party, appears to have waved the white flag on Brexit, unequivocally committing his party to keep Britain outside of the EU and its single market in the event that they are elected.

Starmer’s commitment comes despite hardliner Remainers seemingly remaining prominent within his party, with the Labourite mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, suggesting only last week that the UK should push to rejoin Europe’s customs union.

However, according to a report by The Guardian, Starmer has outright rejected such a call, saying that any push to reintegrate Britain back into the European fold would ultimately be looking backwards-looking, politically speaking.

“So let me be very clear: with Labour, Britain will not go back into the EU,” the publication reports the Labour leader as saying. “We will not be joining the single market. We will not be joining a customs union.”

What’s more, Starmer seems to have adopted the Conservative Party rhetoric of wanting to cut “red tape” with Brexit, with the party head attacking Prime Minister Boris Johnson for creating a “fatberg” of “bureaucracy” with his Brexit deal,  and that he has undermined the country’s relationship with foreign powers as a result of his foreign policy decisions.

“Labour will change that,” he claimed. “We will be the honest broker our countries need. We will get the protocol working and we will make it the springboard to securing a better deal for the British people.”

While some no doubt see Starmer trying to finally put Brexit to bed as a pragmatic and prudent move that will help ingratiate the party with more nationalist elements amongst the UK’s working class, it remains unclear whether the hardline Remainers within the leftist political group will tolerate the concession.

For example, hardline progressive and pro-EU politician Sadiq Khan, a major Labour politician who is currently serving as the mayor of London, voiced only last week that the party should be actively campaigning to rejoin the European Union’s single market.

What’s more, Khan described the UK’s decision to leave the transnational bloc as the “biggest piece of self-inflicted harm ever done to a country”.

Khan’s attitude seems to betray a possibility that internal attitudes in Labour may not have changed since 2021, when one senior politician from within the party admitted that most MPs were “desperate” to rejoin the EU.

“All the groups that I was involved with are already calling themselves ‘Rejoiners’,” Rosie Duffield MP said last year. “They’re starting to think about that. I think, maybe it’s a little bit too soon, but we might as well start to build a movement.”

“We’re still desperate to rejoin if we possibly can, I think, at heart,” she went on to say.

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