Keir Starmer insists Brexit agreement with EU is a ‘bad deal’
Sir Keir Starmer’s latest policy pledge could once again be on the verge of crumbling after a neutral Europe commentator said his plan is “delusional”.
Wolfgang Munchau, a former associate editor of the centrist Financial Times where he wrote about the EU, published an analysis of Labour’s latest policy announcement on the Euro Intelligence website.
Mr Munchau described Sir Keir as delusional in thinking it is possible to “stay outside the single market and the customs union, and get a better deal”.
He described the announcement as a “political lie”.
He said: “It will almost certainly be exposed as such, and not only by us… Probably the biggest delusion yet to be unpicked is Sir Keir’s repeated assertion that there is a better deal with the EU out there. This is simply not true.”
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He describes Mr Johnson’s 2020 agreement as “a reasonable third-country trade deal”, which while leaving open two unresolved topics of Northern Ireland and Horizon Membership, have now been resolved by Rishi Sunak.
The EU blog puts it bluntly to Sir Keir: “If your bottom line is that you do not wish to rejoin the single market and the customs union, there really is not a lot more out there.”
While the pro-EU Labour leader is getting steadily bolder in pronouncing criticisms of Brexit, he is yet to call for Britain to rejoin either the single market or the customs union, which would remove Brexit freedoms like control of our borders and trade policy respectively.
The current deal is up for renewal in 2025, which is when Sir Keir envisages being able to reopen the UK-EU trade settlement and start again.
According to the Labour leader, he wants to improve the current deal in areas such as: “Business, veterinary compliance, professional services, security, innovation, and research.”
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Mr Munchau warns, however, that when “Sir Keir calls Johnson’s trade deal too thin, he misjudges what a trade deal with the EU can do”.
According to analysis by the Tory ERG group of MPs, the deal renewal talks in 2025 will mainly revolve around smaller matters such as fishing quotas and electric car batteries, rather than a top-to-bottom reappraisal of the deal.
This morning No. 10 Downing Street said Rishi Sunak would not re-open the deal under any circumstances.
Mr Sunak’s spokesman told the media: “We expect the TCA (trade and co-operation agreement) to remain the basis of our relationship with the EU and are focused on maximising the opportunities it presents us with.”
He denied any desire for improvements, saying the Government is focused on “using our Brexit freedoms to the benefit of the public already”.
He said: “We’re not looking to relitigate the past or reopen it in any way, shape or form.”
Sir Keir confirmed plans for a major Brexit renegotiation in an interview with the FT, from a conference of centre-left leaders in Canada.
The Labour leader said that “as a dad” it is his duty to renegotiate Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, bringing the UK closer to the orbit of Brussels despite previous pledges not to reverse Britain’s exit from the bloc.
In response, Nigel Farage warned it would take just two years of a Starmer government for Labour to reverse Britain’s exit and transform it into a “Brexit in name only”.
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