Keir Starmer’s EU speech will contradict what everyone knows about him

The Labour leader is planning to explain that he is not ‘backsliding on Brexit’, writes John Rentoul

<p>Starmer will advocate in his speech for a policy that he thinks is contrary to the best interests of the nation</p>

Starmer will advocate in his speech for a policy that he thinks is contrary to the best interests of the nation

It is a paradox that Boris Untrustworthy Johnson is more believable on the subject of Europe than Keir Integrity Starmer. The Labour leader is going to make a speech ruling out the free movement of people between Britain and the EU if he becomes prime minister.

That is a sensible position to adopt. Once the Labour Party has decided that it respects the result of the referendum, it has to respect the consequences of the referendum. That means it cannot advocate the Norway option of staying out of the EU but rejoining its single market, because the single market requires free movement, and opposition to free movement was one of the main reasons people voted Leave.

But there is a problem. It may be the sensible thing to do. It may even be what a Labour government would do. But everyone knows that it is not what Starmer himself thinks is the best policy. He thinks that Britain would be better off in the EU single market. Indeed, he thinks we would be better off rejoining the EU itself. That is why he devoted his time as shadow Brexit secretary to trying to secure a second referendum, in which he would have voted Remain.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in