Starmer promises to rewrite Brexit deal with EU

#Brexit special section Policy & Politics

Sir Keir Starmer has promised to rewrite the Brexit deal struck with the EU to secure a better trading relationship for the UK.

The Labour leader said he “owes it to his children” to rewrite the “thin” deal agreed by former disgraced prime minster Boris Johnson – although he again ruled out rejoining the customs union or single market.

Talking to the Financial Times, Starmer pledged to begin talks with the EU in 2025 about improving the UK’s Brexit deal, if his party wins the next general election.

“Almost everyone recognises the deal Johnson struck is not a good deal — it’s far too thin,” he said in an interview. “As we go into 2025 we will attempt to get a much better deal for the UK.”

Britain’s Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU is set for a review in 2025. Starmer sees this as an “important” moment to reset relations with Brussels and an opportunity to strike a better deal for future generations.

Starmer has been in Canada this weekend at what the Independent called “a mini-summit of centre-left leaning politicians in Montreal”. He will follow up his meeting with Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau with a visit on Tuesday (September 19) to French president Emmanuel Macron. Last week Starmer was in the Hague to discuss a new immigration plan with

The high profile meetings with world leaders are seen as a pre-conference push to boost Starmer’s standing in the run-up to the general election which is likely to be held next year. Labour has long-held a double-digit lead over the Conservatives and Starmer is positioning himself to be seen as the prime-minister in waiting

Speaking to the FT during his Canadian trip, Starmer said about rewriting the Brexit deal: “I think there’s more that can be achieved across the board.”

This includes agreeing a veterinary deal with the EU to reduce checks on animals and food and a deal to recognise professional qualifications. Starmer also spoke about strengthening relations with the EU in other areas such as security, innovation and research, energy and better opportunities for younger people.

How far the EU will be open to renegotiating parts of the Brexit deal is to be seen but Starmer is determined to try and will seize the opportunity presented by the 2025 review.

“We have to make it work,” the Labour leader told the FT. “That’s not a question of going back in. But I refuse to accept that we can’t make it work. I think about those future generations when I say that.

“I say that as a dad. I’ve got a 15-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl. I’m not going to let them grow up in a world where all I’ve got to say to them about their future is, it’s going to be worse than it might otherwise have been. I’ve got an utter determination to make this work.”

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