Labor group tells Keir Starmer to end Brexit silence by backing new EU deals

Keir Starmer is facing a Labor revolt over his silence on repairing the damage caused by Brexit, with pressure to back new deals on trade, energy and security.

The Labor Movement for Europe (LME) says the economic blow of leaving the EU is now clear to the public, which would reward a party brave enough to come up with concrete ways to reconnect.

Sir Keir has sought to shut down the debate over Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal – blamed for sharp falls in trade and investment and rising food prices – fearing a backlash from ‘red wall’ voters that work needs to win back.

But, ahead of a rally at the Labor conference, LME chairwoman MP Stella Creasy said there was ‘no excuse’ for Sir Keir not to plead for the closer ties he had sorely needed.

In an interview with The IndependentMs Creasy highlighted how Labor stole the show by successfully demanding a windfall energy windfall tax, and called for the same bold approach.

“The Brexit the Conservatives are proposing is hurting the country, with very clear consequences for growth, exports, productivity,” she said.

“The role of the labor movement is not just to say it’s wrong, but to say what we could do instead. It cannot wait until we have a Labor government.

“If you want a more productive and equal society, you have to do more than challenge Liz Truss. You have to say “no, that’s how we would rebuild this relationship”.

In Liverpool, LME – backed by 40% of Labor MPs and the party’s second-largest affiliate – will come up with an initial three-point plan to:

* Join the Pan-Euro-Mediterranean Convention (PEM) – an agreement between EU countries, as well as several countries in Africa and the Middle East, to recognize the origin of products.

UK businesses are paying billions in tariffs to sell in the EU due to rules of origin requirements, forcing many to relocate and threatening the ceramics and car industries , among others.

* Join the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) – an agreement between nine EU countries, plus Norway, to accelerate the development of offshore wind energy and move away from exorbitant gas prices.

Sir Keir Starmer has promised his party will not seek to negotiate EU single market membership if it wins the next election

(Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Brexit deal offered cooperation on “the development of the offshore grid and the great renewable energy potential of the North Sea region” – but that didn’t happen.

* Establish a ‘security partnership’ on hostile state threats, terrorism, cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns – enabling the UK to attend EU meetings, coordinate sanctions and share intelligence .

This was proposed in the 2019 political declaration – after being pursued by Theresa May – but was dropped by Boris Johnson in the negotiations that followed.

Ms Creasy, a former business spokeswoman for Labour, said of the three-point plan: ‘You can do it straight away. There’s no excuse not to do this stuff.

On easing trade barriers, she added, “For manufacturers in my constituency, who are faced with colossal energy bills and huge amounts of paperwork, that would make the biggest difference.

“They need results because they are going bankrupt. I had a company come the other day – they needed to get paperwork for a cube stock.

In a major speech in July, the Labor leader promised that his party would not seek to negotiate membership of the single market or the EU customs union if it were to win power.

All he offered as an alternative plan was to meet EU food safety and farming standards, in a bid to reduce trade blockages and end the battle over the Ireland protocol. North.

But Ms Creasy said Sir Keir had and should go further, saying: ‘What the public wants now is to know what we would do differently.

“I’m not sitting here wearing a blue beret with gold stars on it, singing ‘Ode to Joy’. This is not about joining the European Union or having another referendum.

LME, whose president is Neil Kinnock, has more than 2,500 members and the support of a third of the new candidates for the next general election, having organized its own electoral campaigns before the selections.

Public disillusionment with Brexit appears to be growing. A poll last month found 62% of voters thought it was going ‘badly’ – up from 39% after the UK left the EU.

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