Sir Keir Starmer was today accused of trying to reverse Brexit ‘by stealth’ after footage emerged of him admitting Labour ‘don’t want to diverge’ from EU rules.
The Labour leader, speaking at a conference of centre-left leaders, suggested his party do not want to ‘do different things’ from EU countries if they win power.
Sir Keir added there was ‘a lot more common ground than you might think’ between Brussels and the UK.
The comments fuelled further suspicions about the Labour leader’s stance towards Brexit, as he bids to replace Rishi Sunak as prime minister at the general election.
Sir Keir has already pledged to strike a ‘much better’ Brexit deal with the EU if he enters Downing Street, while he this week held cosy talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.
Former business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg told MailOnline that Sir Keir’s remarks about not diverging from EU rules were ‘no surprise’.
‘Sir Keir of the second referendum has always opposed Brexit and wants the reverse it by stealth,’ he added.
Other senior Tories claimed Sir Keir had missed the ‘whole point of Brexit’ and said Britain would be committing a ‘disastrous mistake’ by ‘blindly following’ EU rules.
Sir Keir’s comments – first reported by Sky News – were made during his weekend trip to Montreal, Canada, for the Global Progress Action Summit.
Other speakers at the summit included Labour ex-PM Sir Tony Blair, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, former New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern, ex-Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, and former EU vice-president Frans Timmermans.
The Labour leader said that ‘most of the conflict’ from the UK being outside the EU ‘arises in so far as the UK wants to diverge and do different things to the rest of our EU partners’.