Jan 12, 2023
Keir Starmer discusses Brexit and a second referendum
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Sadiq Khan is set to call for a “pragmatic debate” on rejoining the European Union in a speech this evening. He is expected to accuse ministers of having “select amnesia” when it comes to Brexit, describing it as “one of the root causes of our problems”. Mr Khan will say politicians “can’t keep quiet about the immense damage Brexit is doing”. He will say: “Ministers seem to have developed selective amnesia when it comes to one of the root causes of our problems.”
“Brexit can’t be airbrushed out of history or the consequences wished away… We need greater alignment with our European neighbours – a shift from this extreme, hard Brexit we have now to a workable version that serves our economy and people.
“That includes having a pragmatic debate about the benefits of being a part of the customs union and the single market.”
The comment could be seen as a swipe at Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who has ruled out a second referendum.
- 40 Conservative MPs stage rebellion over online safety law
- Rishi Sunak promises ‘not to let Britons down’ in latest speech
He has adopted a “make Brexit work” appraoch and ruled out support for a Swiss-style model of closer economic ties.
Sir Keir has previously said there is “no case” for returning to the EU or the single market.
When questioned on whether he could change his mind on the issue in December, the Labour leader responded: “No, I don’t think. We left and having left there is no case now for saying ‘go back’ and back into the single market and customs union”.
Last week, Sir Keir coopted the Vote Leave slogan in his first speech of 2023.
The speech, which outlined Labour’s vision for the UK, saw the party leader pledge to introduce a Take Back Control Bill in his first term in power.
Sir Keir vowed to “embrace the Take Back Control message”, saying he will “turn it from a slogan to a solution”.
The Take Back Control Bill will form the centrepiece of Labour’s first King’s Speech, Sir Keir said.
Mr Khan will say politicians ‘can’t keep quiet about the immense damage Brexit is doing’ (Image: Getty)
It would involve the devolution of power away from Westminster, providing communities with the right to request more power.
The Labour leader explained: “We will spread control out of Westminster. Devolve new powers over employment support, transport, energy, climate change, housing, culture, childcare provision and how councils run their finances.
“And we’ll give communities a new right to request powers which go beyond this.
“All this will be in a new ‘Take Back Control’ Bill – a centrepiece of our first King’s speech. A Bill that will deliver on the demand for a new Britain. A new approach to politics and democracy. A ne