LONDON — The free movement of people from Europe and the UK’s membership of the Single Market must both come to an end after Brexit, Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer has insisted.
Starmer told an event in central London on Tuesday that continued membership of the Single Market was “incompatible” with the cuts to immigration which Labour wants to see.
“As it currently stands membership of the single market is incompatible with our clarity about the fact that freedom of movement rules have to change,” he said, adding that “freedom of movement will have to end.”
He suggested that it may be possible to renegotiate the rules of Single Market membership. Under the current rules, members must accept open immigration between member states.
However, Starmer insisted that Labour had to accept that the EU referendum result had been primarily caused by voter discontent over immigration and insisted that Labour had to show they “genuinely” understood voters’ wishes.
“We have to be honest enough to accept that the referendum result was largely a result of concerns about freedom of movement and we have to listen to that,” he said.
“We have to listen to what people are telling us about immigration.”
He added that he was “not prepared for Labour not to accept the result and not to genuinely accept the result,” of the Brexit referendum.
He also rejected calls for Labour to back Britain following Norway in becoming a member of the European Economic Area, saying that Britain had to negotiate a Brexit model that was right for Britain rather than one that is “right for another country.”
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