Keir Starmer is today (4 July) laying out a five-point plan to “make Brexit work” but is expected to say that Labour will not seek to re-join the EU.
In a keynote speech this evening, the Labour leader will rule out taking Britain back into the EU single market, customs union or resuming freedom of movement.
“So let me be very clear: with Labour, Britain will not go back into the EU. We will not be joining the single market. We will not be joining a customs union,” he will say, according to The Times.
Starmer will argue his vision is “very different” to the Tories’ stance, which he says is “about cutting standards, regulations and protections before stepping back and gawping at the power of the market”.
He will also promise to make Boris Johnson’s existing “poor deal” work by fixing the Northern Ireland Protocol, reports the Independent.
According to the Guardian, Starmer’s five-point plan will be:
- Sorting out the NI Protocol by seeking a new veterinary agreement for agri-products, with an enhanced and specialised 'trusted trader' scheme that will allow low-risk goods to enter NI without unnecessary checks.
- Tearing down unnecessary trade barriers by agreeing mutual recognition of conformity assessments across specified sectors, seeking new labour mobility arrangements and ensuring the veterinary agreement applies across the whole UK
- Supporting services and scientists through mutual recognition of professional qualifications, widening access to cross border research finance and by maintaining Britain’s data adequacy status
- Keeping Britain safe with a new security pact to defend borders and by sharing data, intelligence, and best practice
- Investing in Britain through green initiatives and a promoting Britain on a global stage, including to markets outside the EU
Labour will not seek regulatory equivalence for financial services, however.
David Henig, co-founder of the independent trade policy group UK Trade Forum, warned that Britain outside of the EU would always face trade barriers compared to EU neighbours, but “a government that prioritised regulatory stability and at least workable relations with the EU would be a huge relief.”
“I would suggest that in all areas some progress could be made, but it would still leave plenty of barriers in place as well - that's the trade policy reality we've faced since 2016,” Henig tweeted.
The speech marks a big tactical shift for Starmer, who as Labour deputy under Jeremy Corbyn backed a second referendum.
He will use the speech to denounce the “mess” created by Johnson’s 2020 trade deal with the EU and the breakdown in relations with the bloc that has followed, reports the FT.