‘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

Passengers are facing delays across the country

Is your flight delayed? Airports and airlines issue updates after mass IT outage causes travel chaos around the world

Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter, was detained last March on spying charges

American journalist jailed for 16 years in Russia after being convicted of espionage

People have been out enjoying the sunshine ahead of the weekend.

Hot hot hot! Temperatures soar to 31C today and 30C tomorrow after an uncomfortable tropical night tonight

Harehill descended into chaos yesterday evening

Starmer condemns ‘shocking and disgraceful’ disorder after riot sweeps through Leeds

Joe Biden and Barack Obama worked in office together between 2008 and 2016

Biden planning ‘major announcement’ about his future as Obama says he must ‘seriously consider stepping down’

Zara McDermott opened up about the "extremely distressing" events that occurred behind the scenes at Strictly Come Dancing.

Zara McDermott hits back after ex-Strictly pro Graziano Di Prima claims he only kicked her once

Lee Laudat-Scott is charged with touching a boy under 13.

Former Labour councillor Lee Laudat-Scott charged with sexual assault of a child

Graham Gomm

Urgent manhunt as prisoner escapes custody at HMP Wormwood Scrubs during trip to hospital

Dominic Reid and Prince Harry

Prince Harry's charity boss quits as head of Invictus Games days after duke sees backlash over veterans' award

CrowdStrike sign and logo at headquarters in Silicon Valley

What is CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity company ‘responsible’ for global IT failure? Microsoft outages explained

Keir Starmer welcomes Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Downing Street

Starmer greets Zelenskyy as Ukrainian President becomes first foreign leader to address UK cabinet since Bill Clinton

Roger Hallam was jailed for five years over M25 protests

‘Their protests are pathetic’: Armed forces minister slams Just Stop Oil as founder give five-year prison sentence

2024 Republican National Convention: Day 4

Hulk Hogan tears off shirt on stage at Republican national convention as he declares 'Trumpmania'

Clean up has begun following the riot in Leeds

Clean-up begins after riot sweeps through Leeds neighbourhood with bus set on fire and police car overturned

The outage is being felt across the world

Global IT outage LIVE: CrowdStrike outage could be ‘biggest cyber incident in history’ as GP surgeries and banks hit

A Microsoft bug has caused a huge IT update

Mass IT outage grounds planes and hits trains, banks and businesses across the world