Labour leader Keir Starmer rules out UK rejoining European Union

Opposition party won’t seek to reinstate freedom of movement if elected to government

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 10: Opposition Labour party leader Keir Starmer speaks to the media as he leaves the BBC after his appearance on The Andrew Marr Show on January 10, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images
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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer ruled out Britain rejoining the European Union and said his party won’t try to reintroduce freedom of movement if elected.

Any future Labour government would have to work within the terms of the treaty rather than try to reopen negotiations with the EU, Mr Starmer told the BBC on Sunday.

"I don't think that there's scope for major renegotiation," he said when asked about Labour's support for Boris Johnson's trade agreement.

“It’s thin, it’s not what was promised, but whether we like it or not that is going to be the treaty that an incoming Labour government inherits and has to make work,” Mr Starmer said.

He has previously defended core aspects of EU membership, including freedom of movement throughout the bloc.

The Labour leader also restated his opposition to a second referendum on Scottish independence, saying a “divisive” vote would undermine efforts to tackle the pandemic.

Mr Starmer has previously called for a constitutional commission to review devolution in the UK.

“I accept that the status quo isn’t working and I don’t accept the argument that if the status quo isn’t working the next thing you do is to go to a referendum,” he said.

Scottish independence is set to be a major theme in British politics this year, with polls showing the Scottish National Party is on course to win an outright majority in local elections.

Nicola Sturgeon, who leads the SNP and the government in Edinburgh, says she wants another referendum early in the next Scottish Parliament, although Mr Johnson has refused to allow one.