Business leaders support Starmer’s call for alignment with EU standards

Starmer says UK does not want to diverge from EU on key issues

Labour leader Keir Starmer has received backing from senior business leaders and trade bodies for his comments that Britain should not part from the European Union on standards ranging from the environment to employment. Starmer said that Labour did not “want to diverge” from the EU and that “most of the conflict” since Brexit had arisen because the UK “wants to diverge and do different things to the rest of our EU partners”.

Starmer made these remarks at an event in Canada, where he met with liberal and centre-left politicians from around the world. He said that the UK did not want to lower standards, rip up environmental standards, standards for people that work, food standards and all the rest of it. He also said that he wanted to build an “even stronger” relationship with France and other EU countries.

Conservatives accuse Starmer of wanting to “unpick” Brexit

Starmer’s comments have drawn criticism from the Conservatives, who accused him of wanting to “unpick” Brexit and rejoin the EU in all but name. The chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, said that Starmer’s comments would worry a lot of people who voted for Brexit. The foreign secretary, James Cleverly, tweeted that Starmer voted remain, then backed a second referendum, then did not, and now wants to rejoin the EU in all but name. The Conservative peer and former lead Brexit negotiator, David Frost, said that it was no surprise that Starmer wanted to align with the EU, but good to have it said.

Business leaders support Starmer’s call for alignment with EU standards

The Conservatives have also claimed that Starmer’s position would undermine the UK’s sovereignty and ability to strike trade deals with other countries. They have argued that Brexit has given the UK more freedom and opportunities to diverge from EU rules and regulations where it suits its interests.

Business leaders and trade bodies endorse Starmer’s position

However, Starmer’s position has been endorsed by dozens of business leaders and trade bodies, who wrote a letter to the Guardian supporting his call for alignment with EU standards and regulations, unless it is explicitly not in the UK’s interests to do so. They said that such a policy would enable businesses and investors to have confidence in the UK’s regulatory foundations, while still allowing the UK to maintain its own regulatory autonomy.

The signatories of the letter included Peter Norris, the chair of Virgin, Paul Drechsler, from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Richard Griffiths, chief executive of the British Poultry Council, and Steve Brambley, chief executive of Gambica (the UK Trade Association for Instrumentation, Control, Automation and Laboratory Technology). The letter was organised by Best for Britain, a campaign group that was originally launched in 2017 to oppose Brexit.

Norris said that contrary to what was promised, leaving the single market had already increased costs for businesses and consumers and further divergence would only hike prices further during a cost of living crisis. Drechsler said that alignment with EU standards would help the UK to maintain its competitiveness and attractiveness as a place to do business.

Starmer prepares for Labour party conference

Starmer’s comments come ahead of the Labour party conference in October, where he is likely to face pressure from some members of his own party who are eager for him to take an even more forthright position on deepening ties with the EU. Some Labour MPs and activists have called for Starmer to commit to rejoining the single market and customs union, or even holding a referendum on rejoining the EU.

However, Starmer has insisted that he respects the result of the 2016 referendum and that he is not seeking to reverse Brexit. He has said that he wants to focus on improving the current deal with the EU, which he has described as “thin” and “flawed”. He has also said that he wants to negotiate a returns agreement with EU countries to send back some unsuccessful asylum seekers if Labour wins power.

Starmer has said that his responsibility as Labour leader is to his children and future generations, who will have to live with the consequences of Brexit. He has said that he wants to ensure that Britain has a close and constructive relationship with its European neighbours and allies.

Category: Politics Meta Description: Labour leader Keir Starmer gets support from business leaders for his call for alignment with EU standards on environment, employment and food. Slug: starmer-alignment-eu-standards

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