‘We are not rejoining the EU’: Starmer shuts down Badenoch’s claim Labour want to ‘reverse Brexit’

22 June 2024, 14:59

Sir Keir Starmer, (L), and Kemi Badenoch
Sir Keir Starmer, (L), and Kemi Badenoch. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Sir Keir Starmer has insisted a Labour government would not take the UK back into the EU after Kemi Badenoch claimed the party wanted to "reverse Brexit".

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Writing in The Telegraph, the Business Secretary said Brexit was a "20-year project" and that its benefits would "disappear" if Labour win on July 4.

Badenoch, who has leadership ambitions should the Tories lose the election, accused Labour of "taking us back to square one".

But speaking today, Sir Keir Starmer firmly denied he had any plans to take Britain back into the UK, while also ruling out a return to the single market or customs union.

Asked if he would ever reconsider this, Sir Keir added: "No. It isn't our plan, it never has been, I've never said that as leader of the Labour Party and it is not in our manifesto."

Keir Starmer
Keir Starmer. Picture: Getty

The Labour leader did say he wanted a better trade relationship with the EU and "much more collaboration" on research and development, education, security, and other areas, adding that it was all subject to negotiation.

"But I do think we can get a better deal with the EU, and if we are elected to government that is what we will endeavour to do," he said.

Asked by the PA news agency about support for rejoining the EU among young people who did not get to vote in the referendum, Sir Keir said it was the "nature" of a one-off referendum that only the electorate at the time were able to take part.

Read More: Keir Starmer will 'reverse Brexit' if Labour wins election, Kemi Badenoch warns

Read More: Starmer refuses to rule out council tax hike and reveals hopes for new Brexit deal - now it's your turn to quiz Sunak

He added: "I would also say this, I voted to remain. I campaigned to remain.

"But what that referendum did was to throw politics into turmoil for three years, between 2016 to 2019 our Parliament couldn't get anything done.

"It caused huge uncertainty and I don't think returning to that kind of division and uncertainty is actually going to help us rebuild our economy, rebuild our country, grow the wealth and create the wealth that we need, or the secure jobs of the future."

The Brexit referendum took place eight years ago on June 23, 2016.

Speaking to the Telegraph Ms Badenoch countered criticism of the progress made on leaving the EU since then.

She said: "This is a 10 or 20-year project. We've just started.

"It's like building a house and someone comes in and says 'oh, he's not done yet, he's failed'. Or you're cooking something and, five minutes later, 'it's not cooked yet, it's not working, let's stop'."

Kemi Badenoch wants to be Tory leader
Kemi Badenoch wants to be Tory leader. Picture: Getty

She claimed the Tories were trying to focus on a strategy of getting benefits from Brexit, adding: "That's something that's going to disappear if Labour come in, they will take us backwards.

"They will take us back to square one. They're just going to copy the EU."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Emergency vehicles and police cars parked on a runway

270 flights axed in Germany as activists target airports across Europe

Lt Col Mark Teeton was airlifted to hospital after being stabbed around 12 times

Wife of Lieutenant Colonel who was stabbed outside Army barracks ‘pulled attacker off her husband’

Paris Olympics Migration

Migrants and homeless people cleared out of Paris during Olympics

Biden Netanyahu

Netanyahu meets with Biden and Harris at crucial moment for the US and Israel

The action came as part of a day of mass travel protests across Europe

Ten Just Stop Oil activists charged for conspiracy to disrupt Heathrow amid Europe-wide eco protests

Sadiq Khan speaks to Global's the Sports Agents

Inevitable that Premier League games will be played abroad, says Sadiq Khan

Israeli supporters during the Men's match between Mali and Israel during the Olympic Games Paris 2024 at Parc des Princes

Israel alleges Iran-backed plot to target athletes at Paris Olympics and equips delegation with armed security detail

The group has launched cyber attacks against infrastructure across the globe.

North Korea-backed group accused of launching 'cyber campaign to steal military and nuclear secrets'

Canada Wildfires

Wildfire in Canadian Rockies’ largest national park ravages town of Jasper

Police rammed the cow

Police investigation into cow ramming incident is now a criminal matter as they visit 500 homes as part of probe

Vice president Kamala Harris (Tony Gutierrez/AP)

Bring it on – Kamala Harris says she is ready to fight for country’s future

A 15-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a teenager of the same age who was stabbed to death in east London.

Teenage boy charged with murder after 15-year-old stabbed to death in 'botched robbery' outside Hackney school

Andrew found himself at the centre of Price's 2009 divorce from Peter Andre

Katie Price's dressage teacher to replace Charlotte Dujardin in Olympic team

Dal Babu said police should not be allowed to mete out summary justice

Police 'can't mete out summary justice', former top officer warns, after Manchester Airport kick video sparks outrage

The Starliner spacecraft docked to the Harmony module of the International Space Station (Nasa via AP)

Nasa says no return date yet for astronauts and Boeing capsule at space station

California governor Gavin Newsom (Steven Senne/AP)

Governor issues executive order for removal of California homeless encampments