Labour should have taken a stronger position on Brexit, argues Keir Starmer

PUBLISHED: 08:15 06 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:17 06 January 2020

Labour MP Sir Keir Starmer during a visit to King Pin Square housing development  in Stevenage. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA Wire.

Labour MP Sir Keir Starmer during a visit to King Pin Square housing development in Stevenage. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA Wire.

The Labour Party ‘should have taken a strong position’ on Brexit, the shadow Brexit secretary and leadership contender Keir Starmer has claimed.

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Starmer said that people wanted "clarity" on the issue, which the Labour Party did not provide, and that not enough was done by the party to "knock down" the Tories' Get Brexit Done message.

He added that, if he was to become Labour's new leader, he would deliver the "fundamental change" needed to deal with inequality across the country.

The shadow Brexit secretary is hoping that his Remain credentials does hold him back in the forthcoming leadership race.

While visiting Leave-voting Stevenage, Starmer claimed that the divide between Leave and Remain will go after January 31st.

He told the PA news agency: "We are leaving the EU in two to three weeks time and that divide between Leave and Remain goes when we leave the EU.

"The next Labour leader needs to unite the Labour Party, provide really effective opposition to Boris Johnson and needs to be pulling together a strategy so that we can win in 2024.

"That's what the next Labour needs to do, and that is what I'm determined to do on behalf of the Labour party. Not on my own, but as part of a team. We need people alongside me doing this."

He said he was visiting Hertfordshire town that voted 59% for Leave and has a Conservative MP was because it is "exactly the type of place" where Labour needs to win seats.

Discussing the problems with Labour's Brexit position, Sir Keir added: "I think clarity about what your position is and not being able to say well would you be Leave or Remain after a general election was a problem and I made that argument but I accepted the decision.

"I think people wanted clarity and they wanted leadership.

"People had bought the idea that if you vote Tory you'll get Brexit done and we didn't knock it down hard enough."

He also said the argument for a second referendum "blew away" with the election result and that the conversation must "move on" to the framework for future trade relations.

"We're going to leave the EU in the next few weeks."

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