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The Labour leader is at risk of a major split within the party amid claims he may support the Prime Minister’s deal. Speaking to Express.co.uk, Steven Fielding, professor of political history at Nottingham University, claimed the Labour leader could be at risk of losing critical support over Brexit. Sir Keir hinted this week, Labour would support any deal which returned to Parliament if it is in the country’s interest.
Ahead of any vote, some within the Shadow Cabinet have now become uneasy over any support for a deal, despite the UK voting to leave in 2016.
Commenting on the situation, professor Fielding told Express.co.uk: “A no deal Brexit would get Starmer off the hook because he wouldn’t have to support anything as there’s nothing to support.
“If the reports are true, it suggests Starmer is quite keen to get on the side of red wall voters.
“That’s his top priority at the moment.
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“Labour doesn’t win the next election unless he regains those red wall seats.
“The problem is by saying Labour will support a Brexit deal, he will make himself look good in the eyes of rebels.
“But he’s really going to alienate himself with people who supported him and those voters who voted Labour in 2019.”
The Labour Party has struggled with its Brexit stance since the 2016 referendum.
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Leading up to the election in 2019, Labour stated it would negotiate a deal within three months of winning the election.
It also stated it would then put that deal to a referendum within six.
Due to this stance, the party lost heartland seats in the Midlands and North, handing Boris Johnson a sizeable 80-seat majority.
Since taking over as party leader in April, Sir Keir has attempted to take Labour away from its handling of Brexit and indeed the heavy 2019 election defeat.
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Within the Labour Party, Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds and Shadow Trade Secretary, Emily Thornberry are thought to be against backing a deal.
However, former prominent Remainers such as Hilary Been and Wes Streeting are now in favour of supporting a deal.
Others within the party such as MP Stella Creasy, are thought to want to see the economic benefits of a deal before lending their support.
MPs are also concerned over how any support for a Brexit deal may fair in the Scottish elections in May.
Former Labour leader, Neil Kinnock has also called on the party to abstain from any vote in leaked Whatsapp messages between peers, The Guardian reports.
During a discussion with colleagues, Lord Kinnock said: “If Labour supports the ‘deal’, all our future justified criticisms will be rebuffed by ‘but you voted for this!’ and, because it will be true, it will be lethal.
We must abstain and explain that this is the rational course when faced with a damaging ‘yes’ and a disastrous ‘no’.
“Johnson will get his ‘deal’ through the Commons anyway and he must own the outcome.”
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