Keir Starmer warned the UK is “not going back” to rejoining the EU.
The Labour leader reiterated he wants to “make Brexit work” – and although he claimed he wants a “clear plan”, he did not say what this may involve.
During a call with BBC Radio Newcastle, he said: “We have exited the EU and we are not going back, and let me be very clear in the North East about that, there’s no case for rejoining.
“What I want to see now is not just Brexit done in the sense that we are technically out of the EU. I want to make it work.
“I want to make sure that we take advantage of the opportunities and that we have a clear plan for Brexit. So that’s what I’m working on.”
Starmer’s intervention stirred a lot of reactions, with NBC editor Patrick Smith recalling Starmer backed the Remain campaign in the 2016 EU referendum, and endorsed a ‘second referendum’ policy at the 2018 Labour conference in Liverpool.
“If you campaigned for Remain then logically you do think there’s a case for rejoining?,” Smith asked.
One Twitter user said: “Starmer’s determination to force anyone under 50 away from Labour really is remarkable. I’m not sure ‘we’ll do the really bad policy a bit better than the Tories’ is quite the vote-winner he imagines.”
Another added: “Complete and utter nonsense. No case for giving us back our freedom of movement or to improve our economy by massive amounts whilst reducing CO2 on trade? Seriously?”
The Labour leader made the remarks whilst urging Red Wall voters to “take another look” at the party, which he said has changed since the 2019 defeat under Jeremy Corbyn.
Starmer is not the first prominent Labour figure to have publicly backed Brexit as a fact that will not be overturned.
Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said UK needs to ’embrace Brexit’
Last May, Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said the UK is “drawing a line” under Brexit after Leave-voting Hartlepool replaced Labour with the Conservatives in the by-election.
The Manchester mayor, who was re-elected last week with a massive 67.3 per cent of the vote, was asked whether reviving industrial regions in the UK could drive a movement to rejoin the EU by The London Economic at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
Burnham said: “I think they have very much switched from the Labour Party perceived to want to stay in the EU as was, and people are embracing the fact that this is a new reality now in the UK, and I think that’s the way everybody needs to embrace it.
“But the way we will approach things is to be true to Manchester’s international perspective on life, its European roots, we want to carry on working with our partners and find a way of making Brexit work for our communities.”