Starmer says he does not see the UK rejoining the EU in his lifetime

Sir Keir Starmer has said he does not see the UK rejoining the European single market or customs union in his lifetime.

The Labour leader said he has been “clear” that he believes the UK can get a better Brexit deal, but added there would be no return to freedom of movement.

Sir Keir, who voted Remain, previously ruled out the UK returning to the European Union, and a senior shadow cabinet minster has confirmed the party would not “re-open the wounds of the past”.

 Sir Keir Starmer
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Asked if there would be any circumstances where the UK would rejoin the single market or the customs union within his lifetime, Sir Keir replied: “No, I don’t think that that is going to happen.”

Speaking to reporters on the campaign trail in Carmarthen, he added: “I’ve been really clear about not rejoining the EU, the single market, or the customs union, or returning to freedom of movement.

“I’ve been equally clear that I do think we can get a better deal than the botched deal we got under Boris Johnson – on the trading front, on research and development, and on security.

“Now obviously that’s subject to negotiation, at the moment my focus is on getting through to 10 o’clock tomorrow night and making sure that we have – what I hope will be – a mandate for change in this country.”

The Brexit referendum took place more than eight years ago on June 23, 2016.

Earlier in the campaign trail, Labour’s shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds said his party would take the “grown-up approach” and not “re-open the wounds of the past” over Brexit.

Addressing the British Chambers of Commerce at a conference in London, he said: “We’re clear we need to get a better deal and there are real improvements we could achieve.

“If New Zealand can have a veterinary agreement with our closest neighbours, so can we.

“And the same can be said for the mutual recognition of professional qualifications, for touring rights in the creative industries, and easier inter-company transfers.”