The Labor Left plans to force Sir Keir Starmer into a softer stance on Brexit

Sir Keir Starmer has pledged to 'make Brexit work' - Ben Birchall/PA

Sir Keir Starmer has pledged to ‘make Brexit work’ – Ben Birchall/PA

Labor leftists plan to pressure Sir Keir Starmer to soften his stance on Brexit, according to The Telegraph.

A coalition of the party’s hard and soft left factions is seeking to put pressure on the party leader, who last month pledged not to take Britain back into the Single Market.

His comments were an attempt to clarify Labour’s position on Brexit – but the Telegraph has said they have galvanized the pro-EU movement on the Left.

In a keynote address on Britain’s future outside the EU, Sir Keir pledged to “make Brexit work” and said there would be no return to a customs union or freedom of movement.

He said that under Labour, Britain “will not return to the EU. We will not join the single market. We will not join a customs union.”

His comments sparked backlash from senior Labor figures, including Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London.

Sir Keir Starmer's comments sparked backlash from senior Labor figures including Sadiq Khan - Stefan Rousseau/PA

Sir Keir Starmer’s comments sparked backlash from senior Labor figures including Sadiq Khan – Stefan Rousseau/PA

Michael Chessum, of the Labor Campaign for Free Movement, said Sir Keir’s stance on Brexit was a “total betrayal” of those who elected him as leader.

“What the Conservatives have introduced is a bit too difficult – no single market, no customs union, no free movement,” he said.

“All tests of any softening of Brexit are out the window and you have Starmer saying we fully accept that.

“It’s quite shocking how far Starmer has come and it’s a total betrayal of all the promises he used to get elected as Labor leader.

“He promised very clearly that he would preserve free movement – ​​he was vocal about that in the leadership campaign.”

Free movement ‘has cross-party support’

The campaign, a network of campaigners and grassroots supporters, has drawn up a motion to be tabled ahead of the party’s annual conference in Liverpool next month.

The resolution, which won the support of the socialist group Momentum, calls for Britain to re-enter Europe’s free movement zone.

“It’s certainly important that Momentum is supporting it – it’s circulating across the Left in general,” Mr Chessum said.

“Free movement has support across the party. There are people like Stella Creasy and Sadiq Khan, but also among the Corbynite base there has always been a very large majority in favor of free movement and migrant rights.”

Ms Creasy, the MP who chairs the Labor Movement for Europe (LME) group, said membership was “growing” and currently included around 40 per cent of the parliamentary Labor Party.

He said around a third of new candidates selected to be MPs at the next general election are LME candidates, meaning they have either endorsed the group or been nominated by it.

The prospect of a revolt by his MPs is likely to put further pressure on Sir Keir to soften his Brexit stance if Labor wins the next election.

“Being honest about the problems Brexit creates”

Preparations for an LME rally, held jointly with the Irish Labor Society and the Party of European Socialists on the first day of the Labor conference, are underway. The event promises to feature a member of the party’s front bench as a speaker.

Ms Creasy said the group was not seeking to rejoin the EU or hold a second referendum, but insisted “no option should be off the table” when it comes to how Brexit is implemented.

“That means, for example, we should absolutely look at what leaving the customs union and the single market has done to our ability to trade and discuss whether we should try to rebuild some of that,” he said.

“We want to see Labor leading with honesty about the problems Brexit creates and with a determination to fix them as soon as possible. We know the Labor frontbench wants to have the conversation – we want to too.”

Ms Creasy appears to have had a meeting with a group of communications advisers on how to launch a new push to soften Labour’s stance on Europe.

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