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Starmer declines to rule out campaigning for UK to rejoin EU

Rebecca Long-Bailey asked the candidates if they agreed the party should rule out campaigning to rejoin the bloc at the next election.

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Labour leadership candidates Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Sir Keir Starmer (Jane Barlow/PA)

Labour leadership candidates Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Sir Keir Starmer (Jane Barlow/PA)

Labour leadership candidates Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Sir Keir Starmer (Jane Barlow/PA)

Labour leadership frontrunner Sir Keir Starmer has declined to rule out campaigning for Britain to rejoin the European Union in the future.

The shadow Brexit secretary said the issue was not a “priority for now” and that the next generation would determine “what our future relationship is with Europe”.

During a Daily Mirror leadership hustings in Dudley on Sunday afternoon, Rebecca Long-Bailey asked her fellow candidates if they agreed the party should rule out campaigning to rejoin the bloc at the next election.

She said: “Our Brexit policy clearly impacted our election performance. Do you agree we should rule out campaigning in the 2024 election to rejoin the EU?”

I’ve got young kids, they will determine what our future relationship is with Europe.Sir Keir Starmer

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy and Sir Keir set out their views on Brexit and the party’s disastrous election result in December, before being pressed to give a clear answer by Ms Long-Bailey.

Ms Nandy then said: “I would rule it out. We haven’t got the option, we’ve lost that right, because we didn’t take the deal that ticked every box that we had about protecting close economic and political cooperation – we refused to do it.

“And that is why we’ve lost that right. So the real battle is now about whether our future lies with Europe outside the European Union and whether we’re internationalists and we can defend and uphold those values.”

Sir Keir replied: “I don’t think it’s a priority for now or the immediate future…

“I’ve got young kids, they will determine what our future relationship is with Europe. It may be the same, it may be different.”

Four weeks remain in the contest to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the opposition, with a winner due to be announced on April 4.

PA