Tory minister reacts to Keir Starmer’s Margaret Thatcher comments
Tory MPs have warned that “slippery” Sir Keir Starmer has revealed his secret agenda to rejoin the EU with comments he made at a major speech today.
Sir Keir told a Resolution Foundation conference in London today that he wants Britain to “have a closer relationship with the EU.”
The Labour leader added that it “doesn’t mean we go back into the EU” but political opponents warned that the man who pushed the second referendum campaign to reverse Brexit will try to rejoin by stealth.
Stoke North MP Jonathan Gullis said: “Sir Keir Starmer seems to miss out the detail which says closer economic ties means rejoining the single market and bringing back free movement.
“Whilst we all know that is what he and his Labour colleagues want, it is not what the voters in 2016 and 2019 wanted. It’s just the same old Labour.”
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Conservative MPs have also been mocking Starmer for his apparent new-found love for former Tory Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Dudley North MP Marco Longhi warned that the latest words on the relationship with the EU showed that the Labour leader cannot be trusted.
He said: “Starmer has more colours than a chameleon.
“Today we are meant to believe that he’s a Monarchy supporting Thatcherite pro-Brexit Labour Party Leader when everybody knows that he’s a republican socialist who tried to elect Corbyn and was the leader of the Remain movement in Parliament.
“Who is he kidding? He’s trying to come across all Blairite but there is a big difference. He’s not Blair and all his past political posturing will follow him. The British public can see through him.”
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Chairman of the European Research Group (ERG) of Tory Brexiteer MPs Mark Francois added: “One minute Sir Keir Starmer is trying to channel Margaret Thatcher and the next he wants to create much deeper ties with the EU!
“Fundamentally, Starmer Remains a Remainer – always was and always will be.”
Starmer was outlining his vision for economic growth when he was asked about the eU.
With many Labour MPs still trying to blame Brexit for the economic problems, he told the conference: “It is a mistake to think that all of our economic problems are somehow the cause of Brexit.
“We’ve had flatlining on growth for 13 years, way before Brexit was a word, way before there was a vote, and certainly way before we left. So it’s a mistake to think the EU is a silver bullet.
“What can we do now that we weren’t able to do before? It’s not a panacea, I’m not going to pretend that it is.”
But he went on: “I’ve just come back from Cop28, talking to world leaders but also businesses. We can have a more agile discussion about what we can do. There are certainly discussions in life sciences about some of the things we can do.
“There are areas where we can move at speed with an agility that we probably didn’t have before and I think we need to make the most of that.
“That doesn’t mean we pretend that being outside the EU is the absolute silver bullet that’s now going to unleash growth because I don’t think anybody believes that to be true.
“Nor is it to pretend the deal we’ve got is good enough because it’s not good enough, we need a better deal than the one we’ve got.
“We need a closer economic relationship with the EU, our main trading partners. Now that doesn’t mean going back into the EU.
“In all the discussions I’m having with international leaders nobody is saying you’ve got to rejoin but they are interested in what does a closer relationship actually look like.”
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