KEIR Starmer has vowed not to rejoin the EU despite warnings that it could be damaging to Scottish Labour.
The Labour leader was speaking on BBC radio Newcastle this morning when he said there was “no case” for rejoining the European Union.
He said: “ We have exited the EU and we’re not going back, and let me be very clear in the north east about that – there’s no case for rejoining.”
The remarks come after Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour leader, said that Scotland would be better off if the country had closer links to the EU, and acknowledged Brexit had been bad for Scotland.
Ahead of the Holyrood elections last year, Mr Sarwar was asked about Sir Keir’s decision to accept Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal to try and win back so-called ‘red wall’ voters in the North of England.
He told The Guardian that Scotland was the “original red wall” and he believed there should be closer alignment with the single market.
Labour has seen a decline in popularity in Scotland over the last decade, with the party now third largest behind the Tories and the SNP.
It is widely accepted that in order to win the next election, Labour will have to win back Scottish support.
The SNP has capitalised on Sir Keir’s comments this morning, saying they prove that independence for Scotland is the only way to rejoin the trading bloc, and accused Sir Keir of siding with the Tories.
Ian Blackford, the party’s Westminster leader, said: “It’s now beyond doubt that independence is the only way for Scotland to regain our place in Europe – there is no way back under Westminster control.
“Brexit was imposed against Scotland’s will, and it has cost us billions of pounds in long-term damage – hammering our economy, compounding the Tory cost of living crisis, and stripping away people’s rights. In a shoddy attempt to win back votes in England, Starmer’s Labour Party has completely abandoned Scotland.
“The confirmation that Labour has joined the Tories on Brexit, makes it all the more essential that people in Scotland have the choice to determine our own future in an independence referendum, so we can build a fairer, greener and European future as an independent country.
“The SNP government won the Scottish election on a cast-iron mandate to hold an independence referendum, with a record share of the vote. There is an overwhelming majority for an independence referendum in the Scottish Parliament and that democratic mandate must be respected.”
Scottish Labour has been contacted for comment.