Starmer says Labour ‘should be prouder of being patriotic’

PUBLISHED: 17:24 30 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:25 30 April 2020

Sir Keir Starmer. Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Sir Keir Starmer. Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images

2019 Getty Images

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called on the party to be prouder of being patriotic.

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Sir Keir, who strongly backed staying in the EU in the 2016 referendum, also insisted the Brexit Leave/Remain differences were “yesterday’s argument” and people needed to accept that the UK had left.

Speaking during the first of a series of “Call Keir” Zoom question and answer sessions with selected voters in Bury, the Labour leader said: “On patriotism, I’m really proud of my country and I wouldn’t be leader of the Labour Party if I wasn’t patriotic.

“What I desperately want for our country is to get better.

“In the Labour Party we should be prouder of being patriotic.

“I think being in the Labour movement and being patriotic are two sides of the same coin. And we shouldn’t be at all worried about that.”

Referring to the EU, the former shadow Brexit secretary said he, and others, needed to “adjust” to leaving the bloc.

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Sir Keir said: “I argued very strongly that we should stay in the EU.

“I regret the fact that we are leaving - but we have left.

“And I think we all need to adjust to that, myself included.

“And what I have been saying is that the argument about Leave and Remain is over now.

“We have already left the EU. We are outside of the EU.

“We don’t now know what the deal will be, what the new relationship will be.

“But I think that we have to accept that we have left and that Leave/Remain is yesterday’s argument.

“What matters now is what sort of relationship we have with the EU.”

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