How Keir Starmer the champion Remainer voted 48 times to ditch a deal with the EU
- Sir Keir voted against 48 times during his time under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership
- The Labour leader has done a U-turn declaring that he will not try to undo Brexit
- Sir Keir championed Labour’s push for a referendum on the final Brexit deal and insisted that Remain would be an option on the ballot paper
Analysis of the Labour leader’s voting record reveals he voted 48 times against Brexit and the legislation needed to take Britain out of the EU.
Sir Keir championed Labour’s push for a referendum on the final Brexit deal and insisted that Remain would be an option on the ballot paper.
As Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit spokesman, Sir Keir also played a leading role in drawing up Labour’s manifesto pledges on the issue, which included a promise to ‘rip up’ Boris Johnson’s deal and replace it with one that ensured ‘close alignment with the single market’.
He wanted the final deal put to a second referendum, with voters given the option to stay in the EU.
Sir Keir championed Labour’s push for a referendum on the final Brexit deal and insisted that Remain would be an option on the ballot paper
Sir Keir privately backed the idea of a second referendum from as early as 2016. In November of that year he was secretly recorded saying: ‘If you’re going to have a second referendum, you’ve got to identify when you’re going to do it. I am clear that as a party we should keep our options open.’
By 2018, Mr Corbyn had moved against holding a second referendum, but Sir Keir refused to rule it out. In August of that year, Sir Keir switched tack from pushing for a straight re-run of the 2016 referendum to arguing for a public vote.
He also pushed for Labour to propose a soft Brexit deal.
Under Sir Keir’s plan the UK would have remained a permanent member of the EU’s customs union. When allies of Mr Corbyn tried to kill off the plan in 2018, Sir Keir is said to have come close to quitting. ‘He looked close to telling them to shove it,’ said one MP present.
Sir Keir later exploited the Brexit issue to burnish his leadership credentials with pro-Remain activists.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell tried to kill off the Remain option ahead of Labour’s 2018 conference, saying the party would ‘respect the outcome of the referendum’.
But Sir Keir defied him, telling activists at the conference in Liverpool: ‘Nobody is ruling out Remain.’
David Lammy, now Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, said at the time it would be ‘farcical’ to hold another referendum without a Remain option. At a Fabian conference the following January, Sir Keir said another referendum ‘has to be an option for Labour’, adding: ‘I don’t think it is any secret I firmly believe there should be a Remain option.’
In June of that year, he told a union conference that Labour would campaign to Remain in a referendum on the deal. ‘Whatever the next Prime Minister puts forward, it’s got to have the consent of the public… Or to remain,’ he said.