Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary for the Labour party, has announced that Labour would unilaterally guarantee the residency rights of the three million EU nationals living in the UK, on “day one” of its entry to office, before Brexit negotiations begin. Labour has said it will push for a reciprocal guarantee for the 1.2 million British nationals living across the EU.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Starmer accused the Prime Minister of having a “rigid and reckless” approach to Brexit, which is putting the economy at risk. Starmer announced that Labour would scrap the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan and would replace the proposed Great Repeal Bill – the Government’s proposal which will scrap the 1972 European Communities Act and transpose EU law that currently applies to the UK into domestic law – with an EU Rights and Protections Bill. Starmer also said that migration rules had to change and confirmed Labour will end free movement, however access to the EU’s single market should be kept “on the table”. Starmer said that Labour does not “believing that leaving the EU means severing our ties with Europe. We do not believe that Brexit means weakening workers’ rights and environmental protections or slashing corporate tax rates.”
The Conservative party has criticised Labour for not having a clear plan for Brexit, with MP Dominic Raab commenting “Only Theresa May and the Conservatives can provide the strong and stable leadership the United Kingdom needs to see us through Brexit and beyond…[Jeremey Corbyn] is a weak leader of a divided party who couldn’t get the right deal for the United Kingdom”.