Starmer: “Under Labour, Britain will not go back into the EU” - Really?

Are there hidden dangers in Sir Keir’s ‘Starmering’?

Montage © Facts4EU.Org 2022

What does he really mean? We analyse yesterday’s speech in full

Yesterday in London Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer gave the keynote speech at a birthday party for a pro-EU think tank, the ‘Centre for European Reform’. His subject was Brexit.

Whilst this was a private event, Facts4EU.Org has a copy of Sir Keir’s speech and we have analysed it. Below we present a summary for readers, with our elaboration of what his words actually mean.

For the benefit of any new readers, Facts4EU.Org is non-partisan. We only look at politics through the prism of Brexit, as well as the UK’s relationship with the EU and with the rest of the world.

Let’s start with the apparent ‘headline’ positives for Brexiteers

The headlines about Sir Keir Starmer’s comments yesterday are the same across the media.

“So let me be very clear. Under Labour, Britain will not go back into the EU. We will not be joining the Single Market. We will not be joining a customs union.”

- Sir Keir Starmer, 04 July 2022

So far, so good. If Labour wants to win back the ‘Red Wall’ constituencies it lost to the Conservatives at the 2019 General Election he could not have said anything else. Before our analysis of the rest of his speech, here is some context on the Labour leader’s views about Brexit.

Sir Keir Starmer’s track record on Brexit

Keir Starmer was an ardent Remainer who has the following history:

  • 2016 Referendum : Campaigned strongly for Remain
  • Jun 2016 through 2017 : Failed to accept the result of the largest-ever democratic decision of the British people
  • 2018 : “Nobody is ruling out Remain as an option.” (Labour Party Conference 2018)
  • 2019 : “There are many in the Labour party who feel we need to be very clear about a second referendum and about making the case for Remain. That’s certainly what I’m advocating.” (Webinar, 12 June 2019)
  • Sept 2020 : “And on Brexit, let me be absolutely clear. The debate between Leave and Remain is over. We’re not going to be a party that keeps banging on about Europe.” (Labour Connected Conference, 22 Sept 2020 – the Damascene conversion after becoming leader after Labour lost the 2019 General Election.)
  • Jan 2021 : “I don’t think that there’s scope for major renegotiation. We’ve just had four years of negotiation. We’ve arrived at a treaty and now we’ve got to make that treaty work.” (Andrew Marr Show, BBC, 11 Jan 2021)

So, what else did the Labour leader say yesterday?

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

Excerpts from Sir Keir Starmer’s speech, Mon 04 Jun 2022

“There are some who say ‘we don’t need to make Brexit work - we need to reverse it.’ I couldn’t disagree more. Because you cannot move forward… if you’re constantly focused on the arguments of the past.”

“Now, I know some people don’t want to hear that, but… It would simply be a recipe for more division… It is a proper plan to Make Brexit Work…. and you wouldn’t expect the lawyer in the room to skim on the detail.”

Sadly there was no detail in the speech.

1. The Northern Ireland veterinary and foods question

“The first step is clear and obvious. We must sort out the Northern Ireland Protocol. If you’re going to Make Brexit Work, that has to be the starting point.”

“As well as building trust, Labour would eliminate most border checks created by the Tory Brexit deal with a new veterinary agreement for agri-products between the UK and EU.”

This would mean aligning the UK’s food and agricultural laws permanently with those of Brussels. The UK would have no say over these and would simply have to apply the EU’s laws, rules and regulations automatically. It would also severely hinder the trade deals the UK has already been signing with countries around the world.

“Labour would extend that new veterinary agreement to cover all the UK, seeking to build on agreements and mechanisms already in place between the EU and other countries - benefiting our exporters at a stroke.”

The EU has consistently refused to do this.

2. Re-unifying the United Kingdom

“And we will work with business to put in place a better scheme to allow low-risk goods to enter Northern Ireland without unnecessary checks.”

This would require a renegotiation of the Treaty, which the EU has refused.

“We will not renegotiate.”

- Maros Sefcovic, EU Commission Vice President in charge of UK-EU relations

3. Mutual recognition of standards

“The third step will be to support Britain’s world-leading industries. That means mutual recognition of professional qualifications ensuring our services can compete and restoring access to funding and vital research programmes.”

The EU aren’t interested.

4. Security and intelligence

“…Labour will seek new security arrangements to defend our borders. It’s why we will share data, intelligence, and best practice and it’s why we will set up joint intelligence working here and in Europe.”

The EU would grab this in an instant. The UK’s intelligence services are known to be the best in Europe. It would have ongoing implications for the UK’s membership of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence apparatus with its allies around the world.

Sir Keir’s statement also implies acceptance of the ‘European Arrest Warrant’, whereby foreign judges can order the extradition of UK nationals to countries on grounds no British court could accept. There is no doubt the EU would demand this.

Finally, and as we have reported many times, the EU has no interest in a ‘returns’ agreement for its illegal migrants crossing the English Channel in ever-increasing numbers.


There are two main points we would make about Sir Keir Starmer’s speech yesterday.

Firstly, he is naïve about the EU. We must do our best to have cordial relations with our neighbours but we are dealing with an autocratic regime, run by unelected bureacrats intent on punishing the British people for having voted to leave their empire.

Secondly, there is every possibility that Labour might end up forming a coalition government with the LibDems after the next General Election.

Given the LibDems’ stated intention to take the UK back into the European Union, what compromises would Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party make in order to form a government?

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[ Sources: CER | Labour Party ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Tues 05 July 2022

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