Sir Keir Starmer is facing Labour revolt over Brexit after vowing not to bring Britain back single market.
In a keynote speech on the UK’s future outside the EU, Sir Keir promised to “make Brexit work” and said he would not seek to join the single market or customs union.
But even before he spoke, the Labour leader was facing backlash from within himself, with London Mayor Sadiq Khan speaking out against him.
Sir Keele is expected to find out this week Will he be fined for beer gatewhen he was caught on camera drinking a beer at a local councillor’s office after a day of campaigning for local elections last spring.
At the time, Covid regulations meant indoor gatherings were banned, except for work purposes.
Sir Kyle has always insisted he was not breaking any rules because the dinner was work-related, but Promise to resign if sanctioned and reiterated that commitment on Monday.
Mr Khan is seen as a potential contender if the Labour leader is forced to step down.
Speaking on Monday, Sir Keir said: “Under Labour, the UK will not return to the EU. We will not join the single market. We will not join the customs union.
“We will not restore freedom of movement to create short-term solutions. Instead, we will invest in our people and our place, and deliver on our nation’s promises.”
However, Mr Khan told the BBC ahead of his speech that he believed the UK should join the EU single market as it would make the country “more prosperous” in the future.
Telling him it sounded as if he disagreed with Sir Keir, he replied: “Keele’s job is to be Labour leader, my job is to be Mayor of London. That means in many cases I agree with Labour, in some Circumstances I may disagree.
“The Londoners have chosen me to be their advocate, their advocate. I am confident that the future of our city and country will be best served as a member of the Single Market.”
Mr Khan is not the only senior Labour figure to oppose the party line. Stella Creasy, MP who chairs the European Labour Movement, said: “We are just beginning to understand the damage that Brexit will do to the UK.
“Therefore, we urge Keir to ensure that nothing is a solution to the problem cost of living crisis And protect jobs, trade and safety. “
Sir Keir’s stance on Brexit could also put Labour at odds with the Liberal Democrats, whose stated aim is to rejoin the single market.
Labour and Lib Dems accused of operating Informal agreement to win by-election amid speculation they could form a coalition in the event that Labour wins a general election, but without enough seats to form a majority.
In this case, the Lib Dems could pressure Labour to drop its Brexit stance.
In a closed-door speech to the Centre for European Reform think tank, Sir Keir admitted that his Brexit stance would not please everyone in the party.
After stating that Labour would not rejoin the customs union or single market, he said: “I know some people don’t want to hear this, but it’s my job to be frank and honest – you’ll always understand that.
“Revisiting these lines will not help spur growth or lower food prices or help British businesses thrive in the modern world.
“It will only lead to more divisions, it will distract us from the challenges people face, and it will ensure that the UK is in trouble for another decade.”
Sir Keir also used the speech to explain how he would Fix Northern Ireland Agreement By removing most border checks and creating a new agri-veterinary agreement between the UK and the EU.
“We will work with businesses to develop better plans to allow low-risk goods to enter Northern Ireland without unnecessary checks,” he said.
He added that he would dismantle unnecessary trade barriers and strengthen security cooperation with European allies.
Sir Keir campaigned to remain in the EU during the 2016 referendum before serving as Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow Brexit secretary and backing a second referendum.
But his speech on Monday was his strongest signal yet that he now hopes to steer the party away from any links to the Remain campaign.
Last month, a shadow minister said Labour would seek to at least rejoin the EU single market and the customs union that once held power.
Shadow justice minister Anna McMullin has told supporters that Labour should renegotiate the current deal with the EU, suggesting this could be the path to full re-entry into the bloc.
Asked if the UK could return to the single market, Ms McMullin, speaking to a Labour exchange group, said: “I hope so, I really hope so.”
But she later rebutted her comments, saying: “Labour policy on Brexit is clear. We’ve left the EU and Labour voted for the deal. Now it’s the job of all of us to make it work.”
Shadow foreign secretary and another potential leadership candidate, David Lamy, also backed a renewed relationship with Brussels.
“Certainly, if we are in government, certain aspects of our relationship with the EU do need to be determined,” he told LBC last month.