Keir Starmer rules out bringing back free movement if Labor comes to power

The Labor leader promised party members he would “defend free movement if we leave the EU” when he was elected leader – but is expected to rule this out in a new speech on Brexit

Union leader Keir Starmer

Labor plans to rule out the return of free movement with Europe if it wins the next election.

Keir Starmer is expected to confirm that a Labor government would not proceed to allow citizens of EU member states to live and work freely in the UK.

However, he is facing pressure from some of his own MEPs to develop a closer relationship with Brussels, although he has ruled out re-entering the EU.

Brexit created a schism in the Labor Party, with a majority of MPs and members fighting to remain, while many Labor voters in key target seats voted to leave.

Mr Starmer promised Labor members he would “defend free movement if we leave the EU” when elected leader.

But now he’s focused on winning back voters the party lost to the Conservatives in the last election.

Senior Labor sources told the Mirror Mr Starmer plans to be “bolder” in the coming weeks about why Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal is not working.

They claimed the party leader wanted to highlight the government’s failure to deliver on its promises in the EU referendum.

Shadow Secretary of State Lisa Nandy



Mr Johnson has been embroiled in a row for tearing up border rules in Northern Ireland, which Brussels claims breach international law.

But despite the promise of “taking back control” with Brexit, it has done little to boost sluggish growth, rising inflation and risks of recession.

A Labor source said: “You can expect Keir to speak bolder about why the Brexit deal isn’t working. We don’t think anyone feels any benefits from Brexit.”

He and Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves will spend the summer focusing on the economy, with speeches and visits to fringe squares.

That includes making “very clear where we stand” on all major policy issues – including Brexit.

Party insiders believe they need to explain how their two big economic policies so far – “Buy, Make and Sell British” and a £28bn climate package – will affect people’s lives.

A Labor source said: “We know people need to know where we stand on this. We are not naive. We know we weren’t heard.”

It follows claims Mr Starmer has urged Labor frontbenchers to prepare leadership campaigns should he be forced to resign over Beergate.

The Labor leader is said to have told Wes Streeting and Lisa Nandy, two leaders who were set to replace him, to prepare bids for the top job.

Ms Nandy has denied the allegations.

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