Keir Starmer urged to back better Brexit deal

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers a virtual statement from the Labour Party headquarters, Lond

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers a virtual statement from the Labour Party headquarters, London, following the announcement of an agreement of a post-Brexit trade deal. - Credit: PA

Labour leader Keir Starmer has been encouraged to support making changes to the Brexit deal agreed with the EU to develop a closer working relationship with member states.

A report published by the left-wing pro-EU group Another Europe Is Possible strongly supports the case for active engagement with the EU to improve the deal.

Starmer has previously ruled out looking to renegotiate the deal after the next election, despite an opportunity for the trade agreement to be reviewed after five years.

But now pro-Europeans are turning to Labour to improve the Brexit deal in the hope that it sets the UK on course to rejoin the EU in the future.

The report argues that the trade deal does not do enough to protect jobs, workers' right and that the UK is worse off from not being part of EU projects like the Erasmus programme and the research programme Horizon.

Produced by the London School of Economic's Luke Cooper, the document points to the problems arising from the deal, including the damage done to British exports and the escalated tensions in Northern Ireland.

The author also points to the "pointless" barriers put in place as a result of Brexit -  in the name of sovereignty rather than substance. Cooper claims that outside of agriculture and immigration the UK is not intending to use its new "powers".

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In advice for Labour, he adds: "UK parties that do not want to talk about a general ‘renegotiation’ of the treaty on political grounds could quite easily frame their manifesto commitments around a series of specific improvements."

Commenting on its publication Nadia Whittome, Labour MP for Nottingham East, said: “This important new report shows what a disastrous trade deal the Conservatives have struck with the EU, and why we shouldn’t back away from campaigning for an alternative. We need a deal that is committed to high regulation, protects manufacturing jobs, and restores citizens’ rights and freedom of movement.”

It comes as polling conducted for the internationalist group Best for Britain found 59% of voters in Labour Leave seats believe now Britain has left the EU the UK should cooperate in areas of mutual benefit.

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