Home » Sir Keir Starmer insists he won’t derail Brexit as he rules out a Switzerland-style deal

Sir Keir Starmer insists he won’t derail Brexit as he rules out a Switzerland-style deal

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Sir Keir Starmer insists he won’t derail Brexit as he rules out a Switzerland-style deal

  •  The Labour leader triggered a furious reaction from the Remainer wing of party
  •  Starmer has made it clear he would not cross ‘red line’ of freedom of movement
  •  Critics accused Starmer of being ‘dishonest’ given previous remarks on issue

Sir Keir Starmer last night mounted an audacious attempt to outflank the Tories on Brexit by ruling out the Swiss-style deal with the EU floated privately last week by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. 

The Labour leader triggered a furious reaction from the Remainer wing of his party by promising not to renegotiate Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. 

He made clear he would not cross the ‘red line’ of accepting the return of freedom of movement for EU citizens. 

Sir Keir Starmer has triggered a furious reaction from the Remainer wing of his party by promising not to renegotiate Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal

His pledge came after reports of Mr Hunt’s alleged remarks advocating an agreement with Brussels similar to that thrashed out by Switzerland, which has access to the single market trading bloc in return for allowing free movement. 

Sir Keir told this newspaper: ‘A Swiss deal simply wouldn’t work for Britain. Freedom of movement is a red line for me. 

‘It was part of the deal of being in the EU but since we left I’ve been clear it won’t come back under my government.’ 

The Labour leader said he was keen to move on from the years of conflict over the UK’s relationship with Brussels, adding: ‘Ripping up the Brexit deal would lead to years more wrangling and arguing when we should be facing the future. 

‘I’m worried that there are senior members of Rishi Sunak’s Government who don’t seem to understand that and are going round saying they want to open up the Brexit debate again. 

‘Let’s get on with what the country wants – face the future, seize the opportunities Britain has and make Brexit work.’ 

The reaction from Sir Keir’s critics on the Left was swift. 

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt allegedly made remarks advocating an agreement with Brussels similar to that thrashed out by Switzerland, which has access to the single market trading bloc in return for allowing free movement

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt allegedly made remarks advocating an agreement with Brussels similar to that thrashed out by Switzerland, which has access to the single market trading bloc in return for allowing free movement

Commentator Owen Jones claimed he had run ‘the most dishonest campaign for the leadership of a major political party’ because he had promised to restore free movement. 

A Labour source said that after dialogue with the business community in the UK and EU, Sir Keir had become ‘convinced that there are plenty of ways to achieve economic growth without renegotiation or accepting freedom of movement’. 

Sir Keir said: ‘I will always seek a close relationship with our neighbours… but I’ve been very clear – that better relationship won’t be about the single market, the customs union or freedom of movement.’ 

No 10 reacted angrily to reports of Mr Hunt’s alleged remarks, which his allies said had been taken out of context. In a furious backlash from pro-Brexit MPs, one described it as ‘a massive surrender of our sovereignty which would undermine the whole point of Brexit and make the UK a vassal of the EU with no say in the rules we were forced to adopt’. 

A Labour source said that after dialogue with the business community in the UK and EU, Sir Keir had become 'convinced that there are plenty of ways to achieve economic growth without renegotiation or accepting freedom of movement'

A Labour source said that after dialogue with the business community in the UK and EU, Sir Keir had become ‘convinced that there are plenty of ways to achieve economic growth without renegotiation or accepting freedom of movement’

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