Keir Starmer questioned over his silence on failures of Brexit
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The Labour leader dismissed calls for him to debate Brexit in the House of Commons with Boris Johnson due to it being “irreversible”. LBC host James O’Brien asked Sir Keir: “You don’t go near figures on the impact has had on our trade or today on the report from the select committee that labour shortages across the food and farming industry could be threatening our food security.
“The select committee attributes that to Brexit.
“You’ll also have seen the global numbers showing that we’re the only country in the world that isn’t going enjoying a bounceback in trade which can only really be as a consequence of Brexit.
“And yet you as Labour leader still won’t go near the reality of what Boris Johnson’s Brexit has done to our economy, why is that?”
Sir Keir replied: “We can’t reverse Brexit. There’s no case for rejoining the EU.
“All this government has done – it is the thinnest of deals, they said they can ‘get Brexit done’ and they thought that was it – job done.
“It’s not. We’ve got to make Brexit work and that means we need to deal with these gaps and these problems.
“We can’t go on with these labour shortages, with businesses struggling, we need to make Brexit work.
“So, there’s no case for rejoining the EU, but we’ve got to make Brexit work.
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“The Government thought the slogan would do it and that was enough. That’s obviously not enough.”
Mr O’Brien added: “Can you foresee a moment where you might actually mention in PMQs that Brexit is having a negative impact on all of the areas of British life that politicians are supposed to be most concerned about?”
The Labour leader continued: “Yes, we’re going to ramp up our criticism across the board in relation to the government because this all goes to the central question of the growth of the economy.
“The last 12 years have been absolutely appalling.”
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Sir Keir hit out at the increase in National Insurance as “the wrong tax at the wrong time”.
Speaking during a visit to Bacup in Lancashire, Sir Keir said the rise would hit people already struggling as living standards are squeezed.
“We are in the middle of the worst cost of living crisis for decades. People are really struggling,” he said.
“This is the wrong tax at the wrong time. It’s hitting lots of working people and it’s hitting businesses.”
Sir Keir said he feared the money raised would go to fill the £11 billion “black hole” in the public finances due to fraud and other losses during the pandemic rather than funding health and social care.
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