Starmer fury: Labour leader lashes out at Boris Johnson over Brexit – ‘Failing Britain!’

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Negotiations on the future relationship between Britain and the EU have been ongoing for more than six months, but have failed to make progress due to both sides refusing to give ground on a number of red lines, predominantly fisheries, state aid and Brussels’ level-playing field demands. But fears of a no deal Brexit have intensified with Mr Johnson insisting he will press ahead with the Internal Market Bill, which risks overriding key parts of the Withdrawal Agreement signed with the EU last year and consequently, break international law. The move has infuriated the EU. The ninth round of official talks between the two sides begins in Brussels next Monday, with Cabinet Minister Michael Gove also travelling to the Belgian capital for a meeting of the Joint Committee with European commission President Maros Sefcovic.

Michel Barnier is also making an emergency dash to London tomorrow for informal talks with UK counterpart David Frost in a desperate attempt to find a breakthrough in the impasse.

But ahead of this, Sir Keir used a speech in Doncaster at the annual Labour Party conference, delivered without an audience due to coronavirus, to launch a scathing attack against Mr Johnson, and issue a huge warning.

The Labour leader said: “British business needs a deal. Working people need a deal. Our country needs a deal.

“And if the Prime Minister fails to get one, he will be failing Britain.

“If that happens, he’ll have nobody to blame but himself.

“And he will have to own that failure. It will be on him.

“We want to get this deal done, and like everybody else, we’re growing tired of the Prime Minister’s bluster.”

Sir Keir was instrumental in directing Labour’s policy on Brexit, which saw the party heading into the general election promising to renegotiate Prime Minister Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal and put it to another public vote.

But the move drove huge wedges into the party, putting it at odds with some of its previously loyal voters in Leave-supporting areas.

Since taking over as Labour leader in April, Sir Keir has largely remained silent on the issue and has often distanced himself from criticising the Prime Minister on the UK’s departure from the EU.

But during his conference speech, the Labour leader attempted to draw a line under the Leave and Remain battles.

Sir Keir said: “The debate between Leave and Remain is over.

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“We’re not going to be a party that keeps banging on about Europe.”

Sir Keir also appealed to voters who had turned their back on Labour to return to the party with a message he offers a “new leadership” and shares their patriotic values.

He told Labour members: “To those people in Doncaster and Deeside, in Glasgow and Grimsby, in Stoke and in Stevenage to those who have turned away from Labour, I say this: we hear you.”

“I ask you: take another look at Labour. We’re under new leadership. We love this country as you do.”

But while Andrew Scattergood, co-chair of the Momentum grassroots group, applauded Sir Keir for “taking the fight” to Mr Johnson, he warned his speech wasn’t enough after months of not publicly commenting on policies.

He said: “Keir Starmer taking the fight to Boris Johnson today is welcome, but after months of the leadership not commenting on policies, Keir Starmer’s speech was a missed opportunity to show substance.

“If Starmer wants to appeal to working class voters, his pitch should be based on solidarity with the working class and defending their interests, not just slogans and platitudes.”

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