Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer has announced plans to improve the United Kingdom’s trading relationship with the European Union (EU) if his party wins the next election in 2025. In an interview with the Financial Times, Starmer stated that he would seek closer ties with the bloc during the review of the current partnership in 2025. However, he emphasized that he did not intend to rejoin the EU’s single market or customs union.
Instead, the Labour Party aims to enhance the existing Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) established by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2021. Starmer expressed the desire for closer collaboration with the EU in areas such as security, innovation, and research. Labour has consistently advocated for improved relations with the EU, including a deal that would reduce the need for checks and paperwork on animal and food products, as well as closer ties in professional and financial services.
Nevertheless, the party clarifies that it does not intend to renegotiate the TCA but rather aims to make improvements to the current agreement. Starmer was quoted by the Financial Times as saying, “Almost everyone recognises the deal Johnson struck is not a good deal — it’s far too thin. As we go into 2025, we will attempt to get a much better deal for the UK.”
Brexit has had a significant impact on the UK economy, according to the Bank of England. The central bank has stated that leaving the EU has reduced the country’s economic growth capacity, leading to decreased investment and productivity. Although the bank acknowledged that the effects were not larger than anticipated, its deputy governor, Ben Broadbent, noted that the impact had been more immediate than expected.
Recent opinion polls indicate that the Labour Party holds a lead of approximately 20 points over Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party, ahead of an expected election next year. Moreover, most British citizens believe that Brexit was a mistake. However, Starmer faces the challenge of striking a delicate balance between pursuing better economic ties and avoiding criticism from both Brexit supporters and critics who accuse him of seeking to reverse the results of the 2016 Brexit referendum.
Responding to Starmer’s announcement, Britain’s pensions minister Laura Trott expressed concerns about the Labour leader’s changing stance on Brexit. Trott highlighted Starmer’s previous advocacy for a second referendum and questioned the potential consequences of reopening the trade deal.
As the UK looks ahead to the next election, Starmer’s commitment to improving the country’s trading relationship with the EU has generated intrigue among voters. With Brexit continuing to shape the political landscape, the outcome of the election and the future of the UK’s relationship with the EU remain important topics for both politicians and the general public.
More detail via Malay Mail here… ( Image via Malay Mail )