Labour voters want Starmer to ditch his Brexit red lines and rejoin single market

New polling shows that the vast majority of voters who went to the polls to vote for a Keir Starmer government want Labour to drop its Brexit “red lines” and reverse the Tory legacy on Europe.

Asked about whether Labour should reconsider its stance on the single market, customs union and freedom of movement in order to gain economic benefit, 71 per cent thought they should.

Just 14 per cent thought they should not alter their Brexit red line stance, with only 2 per cent saying “definitely not”.

Keir Starmer has been urged to ditch his red lines on Brexit (Reuters)
Keir Starmer has been urged to ditch his red lines on Brexit (Reuters)

The polling, commissioned by the pro-EU European Movement, aims to put pressure on Sir Keir to have a dramatic rethink of Labour’s foreign policy as he heads off to Nato today where he will meet with many of Europe’s leaders including commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

During the election, Sir Keir was criticised for not mentioning Brexit.

But he told The Independent: “We are not reopening the wounds, but we do want a better deal. I think the deal we've got isn’t good enough, and your cheese exporters from Somerset or wherever will tell you that as will others who are either importing or exporting. So we can do better than that, but it doesn't involve going back to the single market or the customs union.”

Labour have already announced that work has begun on renegotiating Boris Johnson’s flawed Brexit deal, but Sir Keir has insisted that the UK will not rejoin the EU in his lifetime and that he will not consider rejoining the customs union or single market.

David Lammy will prioritise a new security arrangement with the EU (PA Wire)
David Lammy will prioritise a new security arrangement with the EU (PA Wire)

Instead, he is looking for a bespoke deal similar to the way Norway and Switzerland approach the issue.

Foreign secretary David Lammy has also prioritised a new security pact with the EU.

But, given that both Sir Keir and Mr Lammy played leading roles in trying to stop Brexit and hold a second referendum, some pro-EU activists are unhappy with their current policy.

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Dr Mike Galsworthy, chair of European Movement UK, said: “We understand that Labour felt it needed to set out red lines to protect itself from attacks from the Conservative Party and the pro-Brexit press, particularly during the election. However, this does not reflect what Labour’s voting base and the public at large wish to see from a Labour government.

“Labour’s greater duty in government is to serve British citizens and British businesses who are desperate for a better economy. Labour must break from the straitjacket of the previous government and finally put Britain’s citizens, businesses and economic health above obsolete ideology."

The Think Voter Intention poll had a Labour sample of almost 500 out of 1,212 and revealed that 63 per cent of voters would vote to rejoin if there was another referendum. Overall, 47 per cent of all those polled said they would vote to rejoin compared to 34 per cent who voted to stay out of the EU.

Irish Taoiseach Simon Harris said the EU would be open to a new Brexit deal (EPA)
Irish Taoiseach Simon Harris said the EU would be open to a new Brexit deal (EPA)

The poll also found that 64 per cent of all voters thought that Brexit had not lived up to its promise. This was higher among Labour voters, with 77 per cent saying Brexit had not lived up to promises.

The majority also held true for the UK public as a whole, where 56 per cent thought a Labour government should soften its stance on UK-EU relations. Just 24 per cent, less than a quarter, said they didn’t think they should. Even with Conservative voters, 50 per cent thought Labour should put the economy above its red lines versus 32 per cent who did not.

Sir Nick Harvey, chief executive of the European Movement UK, said: “The European Movement will be clear throughout this general election that political candidates of all parties must acknowledge the elephant in the room – that Brexit isn’t working, and that public opinion is shifting."