Labour Shadow Minister claims UK will join EU ‘again’

Michael Portillo explains why he voted for Brexit

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A Labour Shadow Cabinet member has claimed the UK will join the European Union “again” despite Sir Keir Starmer’s recent Brexit pledges. The Labour MP suggested Britain’s future may lie within the bloc or with closer economic ties.

According to the i, Starmer’s Shadow Cabinet colleague said: “Over the long run, I can see Britain being a member of the EU again.

“Or at least having an economic relationship that’s essentially the same thing.”

The comments come just weeks after Sir Keir rejected calls for the UK to rejoin the EU’s single market.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “At this stage, I don’t think it would, and there’s no case for going back to the EU or going back into the single market.

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“I do think there’s a case for a better Brexit.

“I do think there’s a very good case for making Brexit work.”

However, the Shadow Minister’s Brexit prediction also comes after Downing Street was forced to reject reports it was considering forging a Swiss-style relationship with Brussels.

Switzerland is not a member of the European Union or the European Economic Area but it does have selective access to the single market and maintains freedom of movement with the bloc.

The so-called Swiss model would see more liberal EU migration, payments into the bloc’s budget and potentially greater oversight from the European Court of Justice.

Such positions are considered red lines for the Tory Party’s hardline Brexit-backing European Research Group, with one rebel suggesting it was comparable to Theresa May’s 2018 Chequers deal.

Rishi Sunak, who campaigned for the UK to leave the EU in 2016, appeared to confirm Brexit Britain would not forge closer ties with the bloc.

Speaking at the CBI annual conference last month, the Prime Minister said: “Let me be unequivocal about this, under my leadership the United Kingdom will not pursue any relationship with Europe that relies on alignment with EU laws.

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“I voted for Brexit, I believe in Brexit and I know that Brexit can deliver and is already delivering in all those benefits and opportunities for the country.”

Despite Mr Sunak’s comments, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt indicated that the Government would look to eradicate some of the trade barriers created by Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.

Mr Hunt, who campaigned to remain in 2016, later unveiled more than 30 changes to help the City become more competitive post-Brexit and over a third have only been possible because the UK opted to cut ties with Brussels.

He said: “Brexit makes some of the things that we’ve announced easier because we have regulatory autonomy so we are taking advantage of that to make sure the City is even more competitive.”

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