Starmer admits it would be difficult for Labour to campaign for Leave in a general election

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer at Labour Party conference. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer at Labour Party conference. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer has conceded that it would be hard for the party to commit itself to Leave after its pre-election pledge to back Remain.

As Sir Keir outlined his party's position on a second referendum on Radio 4's Today programme, Justin Webb interrupted him to question what it entailed.

He said: "Hang on, there is a thing called logic.

"I understand you are going through the various people who have signed up to this now, and people will understand the importance of that in any political party.

"But, there is a thing called logic, and actually you can't be campaigning effectively for Remain before an election and then saying afterwards we might change our minds, can you?"

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The host laughed as Starmer responded: "I accept that. There is a logic in that, we will build on the policy position we have got as we always do.

"But, what we never do, and it is not just on Brexit, for over many many years, the Labour Party always draws up its manifesto when the election is called, and then we go through a particular process."

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He added: "Having got to a position by consensus and a strong and clear position, clearly we build on that as we go into a manifesto.

"What I can't do is suggest the shadow cabinet at this stage say what will be in our manifesto, we don't know the terms of it. Obviously, a critical question has to be when that election is."

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