DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Keir Starmer is intent on snatching Brexit away 


DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Keir Starmer is intent on snatching Brexit away

When asked in 1972 to assess the implications of the French Revolution, China’s then premier Zhou Enlai reputedly replied that it was too early to say.

Even if the tale was apocryphal, it was shrewdly perceptive. Only with the passage of time can the consequences of great political and social upheavals be judged.

And so it is with Brexit. It’s not yet seven years since this country voted to leave the European Union. Our trade deal with Brussels has been in place a mere two.

Not until most of us are long dead will historians be able to begin to gauge whether quitting the bloc turned out to be a success – or a flop.

Yet with wearisome predictability, Remainers who can’t accept the 2016 referendum result never stop catastrophising the supposed failings of Brexit.

Starmer speaks at the British Chambers of Commerce Global Annual Conference on 17 May. He said on Wednesday Labour would seek ‘a better deal that the one that we’ve got’ on Brexit

From flatlining economic growth to stubbornly high inflation and brief vegetable shortages in supermarkets, every blip is treated as irrefutable proof that our departure isn’t working.

Their smug chorus of told-you-sos grew even louder yesterday amid warnings that the UK car industry is doomed, with the loss of thousands of jobs, unless trading terms with the EU become more favourable.

Vauxhall and other manufacturers claim it will be unprofitable to make electric vehicles here if, due to the soaring costs of batteries made in the Far East, they are forced to start paying export tariffs.

But the blame for this situation lies not with the Trade and Co-operation Agreement that Boris Johnson signed with the EU.

It is, in fact, a failure of successive governments and the manufacturers themselves. By not investing in battery factories, Britain is almost entirely reliant on imports – hugely disadvantaging itself.

Sir Keir Starmer has seized on the car industry’s threats to claim that should he become Prime Minister (God forbid!), he will negotiate with Brussels to secure an improved trade deal.

Good luck with that! The torturous Brexit talks proved the EU is unwilling to be reasonable. Brussels (which still wants to punish us for leaving) would not give up a millimetre unless we gave up a mile. What parts of our hard-won sovereignty would Labour’s leader be willing to sacrifice?

Of course, Sir Keir says he would seek only a ‘closer trading relationship’ with the bloc, reconciled as he supposedly is to Brexit.

But can we believe a single word he utters? Throughout his whole career he has been an evangelical Remainer.

Indeed, less than four years ago, he was so incensed by the British public’s decision to split with Brussels that he battled tooth-and-claw to block it. He is totally in thrall to their institution.

Surely part of the reason Sir Keir wants to give millions of 16-year-olds and EU citizens the right to vote is that they would probably swing a future referendum conclusively in favour of rejoining the EU.

The Astra assembly line at Vauxhall's plant in Ellesmere Port. Starmer said the Brexit deal needed to be improved after the owner of Vauxhall said it will be unable to keep its commitment to make electric cars in the UK without changes to the EU trade agreement

The Astra assembly line at Vauxhall’s plant in Ellesmere Port. Starmer said the Brexit deal needed to be improved after the owner of Vauxhall said it will be unable to keep its commitment to make electric cars in the UK without changes to the EU trade agreement

Of course, it’s very difficult to argue and fight for Brexit when Rishi Sunak’s government is doing so little to champion and exploit it. The electorate voted decisively to leave the sclerotic bloc because it believed it would enable us to create a nimble, modern, low-tax economy, while strengthening our borders.

Depressingly, when official migration statistics are published next week, we are going to find out with a seismic jolt that neither has been achieved.

But that is no reason to throw in the towel on Brexit. The best way to ‘fix’ it is for the Government to honour its election mandate and properly embrace it.

Despite at times being disappointed in the lack of ambition shown by our politicians, the Mail remains convinced of its almost limitless potential.

It would be a disastrous day for Britain – and democracy – if Sir Keir was given the chance to cancel Brexit by sleight of hand.



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