Same old Labour! Sir Keir Starmer sides with EU as he attacks Boris on Brexit

Nigel Farage criticises Keir Starmer on Brexit comments

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The Labour leader accused the Prime Minister of taking a “wrecking ball” to relationships with Ireland and the EU in a scathing assessment of the Government’s approach to relations. He said the Conservative leader lacked the “attributes” necessary to secure concessions from Brussels in negotiations over problems caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Sir Keir made the intervention while on a trip to Dublin to meet with Irish political leaders.

His criticism came despite Mr Johnson persuading the EU to reopen negotiations over the Brexit withdrawal agreement in 2019 to deliver Britain’s freedom, and again forcing the bloc to fold in talks over a free trade deal a year later.

Ministers are set to introduce new legislation from next week to overrule aspects of the Northern Ireland Protocol after Brussels refused to compromise in talks.

The Government said the unilateral action will be used as a safeguard to protect the integrity of the United Kingdom if a solution cannot be found in conjunction with the EU.

Unionists believe customs checks imposed on cargo travelling from Britain to Northern Ireland are being too rigorously enforced by the continent and have urged the Westminster Government to act to ease the flow of goods.

EU leaders have attacked the Government’s proposals, saying the threats of unilateral action have led to trust between the two sides disintegrating.

Parroting the EU’s lines, Sir Keir said this morning: “As someone who cares deeply about the relationship between Ireland and the United Kingdom, I’m concerned about the comments that have been made.”

The Holborn and St Pancras MP, who was responsible for Labour’s policy of a second EU referendum when Jeremy Corbyn was leader, claimed his party were best placed to secure a new Brexit agreement.

He said: “Of course there are challenges with the protocol, but I think that we have faced much greater challenges than that in our shared history and I think that with flexibility on both sides, with good faith, statecraft, and trust around the negotiating table, we can deal with the remaining issues.

“My concern is that we have a Prime Minister who doesn’t have those attributes.

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“Trust is very important in all of this and this Prime Minister does not have the trust, or I fear he doesn’t have the trust, to negotiate in the way that I actually think would lead to a solution to the problems.

“We’ve face bigger problems than this.

“With good faith, statecraft and trust around the negotiating table, which is what a Labour government would bring, these problems can be overcome.

“But a Prime Minister without those attributes taking a wrecking ball to the relationship is not going to help anybody.”

The Government was originally meant to table its legislation in Parliament this week but it is understood to have been pushed back to the start of next week following final wrangling over wording.

The plans would create a “green lane” for goods crossing the Irish Sea that were not set to leave Northern Ireland, with most customs checks dropped on the shipments.

Any companies found to be using the system to smuggle goods into the EU via the Republic of Ireland will be hit with heavy fines.

Britain has been holding intense talks with the EU on the subject since last October with no breakthrough being found.

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