Sunak claims Starmer could 'put Brexit in peril' – as Labour warn voters against election complacency

22 June 2024, 20:34 | Updated: 22 June 2024, 22:35

The Conservatives have claimed a Labour government could "put Brexit in peril" in statements and op-eds published on the eighth anniversary of the EU referendum.

Rishi Sunak has made a series of claims about rival Sir Keir Starmer and his intentions if Labour get into government - claiming he "would recommit us to free movement of EU citizens, taking thousands more illegal migrants and binding our businesses again in Brussels red tape".

"Keir Starmer has never believed we can succeed as a sovereign country and has tried to overturn the result time and time again," he said. "Now he has committed to years more wrangling the EU and abandoning all our hard-won freedoms like the ability to strike more trade deals and cut more red tape.

"Make no mistake, Brexit would be in peril under Labour."

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Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch has claimed Starmer and Labour "have never believed in Britain's ability to forge its own path".

"Instead of using the opportunities, Starmer wants to renegotiate the Brexit deal, taking us back to square one of being a rule-taker from Brussels," she added.

"Only the Conservatives will continue to take the bold action required to build a secure, independent future for our country."

What have Labour said about Brexit and the EU?

Sir Keir last month told Sky News he plans to seek "a better [Brexit] deal than the one that we've got" if elected in next month's general election.

"I don't think many people look at that deal and think it's working very well," he said of the current trade arrangements. "We were promised an oven-ready deal and we got something that was, frankly, half-baked."

The Labour manifesto makes one mention of Brexit. It reads: "With Labour, Britain will stay outside of the EU. But to seize the opportunities ahead, we must make Brexit work."

"We will reset the relationship and seek to deepen ties with our European friends, neighbours and allies," it continues. "That does not mean reopening the divisions of the past.

"There will be no return to the single market, the customs union, or freedom of movement.

"Instead, Labour will work to improve the UK's trade and investment relationship with the EU, by tearing down unnecessary barriers to trade."

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