In view of the ongoing economic problems in the UK, opposition leader Keir Starmer has spoken out in favour of renegotiating the EU withdrawal agreement. “Yes. We want closer trade relations with the EU. We can do more with the EU in the area of science and innovation, and also in the field of security,” Starmer told Sky News on Wednesday. His party wants to ensure “that Brexit works”.
Brexit deal doesn’t work
“Is the Brexit deal we have working well? No,” Starmer stressed, referring to the deal negotiated by the Conservative government. He complained that the British economy had been growing too slowly for years. At the same time, he emphasizes that it will take “a lot of work” to “fix this mess”. Starmer’s Labour is leading well ahead of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Tories in the polls, with the next general election expected to take place at the end of 2024.
In the months-long tug-of-war over the modalities of leaving the EU, Labour had campaigned for Britain to continue to form a customs union with the EU and for there to be full access to the EU single market. However, the Tories rejected this, which, among other things, necessitated a complicated special arrangement for Northern Ireland.
The British region, unlike the rest of the country, remains in the EU single market in order to prevent the emergence of a customs border with EU member Ireland. It was only at the beginning of the year that British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak succeeded in settling the dispute over the interpretation of Northern Ireland’s provisions, which had become acute after leaving the EU, in an agreement with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Two and a half years after the UK’s final exit from the common European market, studies show that the British economy is developing significantly worse than that of the EU states.
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Brexit supporter speaks of failure
While on the one hand there are labour shortages, the country has not been able to curb irregular migration as promised by Brexit supporters. This week, even Brexit spokesman Nigel Farage had to admit that Brexit had been a “failure”. In this regard, however, he pointed to the British government for failing to curb migration and for regulating companies even more than the European Union. In addition, the pressure from companies in the matter of the Brexit deal is increasing. For example, the car manufacturer Stellantis threatened on Wednesday that it would have to close its British factories with thousands of employees if the withdrawal agreement is not quickly renegotiated.
Current polls in Great Britain show clear majorities in favour of the country’s re-accession to the European Union. However, Labour leader Starmer has categorically ruled this out several times. In the course of the years-long struggle to leave the EU, the opposition party has lost its northern English strongholds to the ruling Tories. Brexit had to be postponed by almost a year because Labour thwarted the decision of the Brexit deals negotiated by the Tory minority government in the House of Commons. Brexit took place in January 2020, and at the end of 2020 the country finally left the EU single market.