Keir Starmer refuses to rule out backing campaign for UK to rejoin EU

(left to right) Labour leadership candidates Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Sir Keir Starmer, s

(left to right) Labour leadership candidates Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Sir Keir Starmer, speaking during the Labour leadership hustings at the SEC centre, Glasgow. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Keir Starmer has refused to rule out backing a campaign to get the UK to rejoin the European Union in the future.

During a Daily Mirror leadership hustings in Dudley, Rebecca Long-Bailey asked her fellow candidates if they agreed the party should rule out campaigning to rejoin the bloc at the next election.

She said: "Our Brexit policy clearly impacted our election performance. Do you agree we should rule out campaigning in the 2024 election to rejoin the EU?"

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy and Sir Keir set out their views on Brexit and the party's disastrous election result in December, before being pressed to give a clear answer by Long-Bailey.

Nandy then said: "I would rule it out. We haven't got the option, we've lost that right, because we didn't take the deal that ticked every box that we had about protecting close economic and political cooperation - we refused to do it.

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"And that is why we've lost that right. So the real battle is now about whether our future lies with Europe outside the European Union and whether we're internationalists and we can defend and uphold those values."

But while the shadow Brexit secretary said the issue was not a "priority for now" and that the next generation would determine "what our future relationship is with Europe", he did not rule it out.

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Sir Keir replied: "I don't think it's a priority for now or the immediate future...

"I've got young kids, they will determine what our future relationship is with Europe. It may be the same, it may be different."

Four weeks remain in the contest to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the opposition, with a winner due to be announced on April 4.

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