Starmer insists Labour NOT trying to reverse Brexit
Grant Shapps says that Starmer wants to ‘reopen’ Brexit
Sir Keir Starmer has insisted Labour is not trying to reverse Brexit despite eyeing up plans to hand the vote to millions of EU citizens.
The Labour leader has been accused by Tory MPs of a “sinister” plot to drag the UK back into the bloc with proposals to expand the voting franchise to allow settled migrants to cast a ballot.
But during a phone-in on LBC this morning, Sir Keir said: “The first thing is there is no plan to reverse Brexit.
“I don’t know how many times I have said there is no case for going back in, we are going to make Brexit work and that is our absolutely firm position.”
He added: “This is the fact that we are looking at some of the voting issues and looking at is the operative word, there is no settled policy here.”
However, Sir Keir said it “feels wrong” that EU citizens who have lived in the UK for many years are currently unable to vote at general elections in a sign he is keen to press ahead with the plans.
He said: “As you know, EU nationals can vote in local elections, Commonwealth citizens can vote in all elections, and so we’re looking at that.
“The thinking behind it is if someone’s been here say 10, 20, 30 years, contributing to this economy, contributing to the community, they ought to be able to vote.
“Let me bring it alive – I’ve knocked on a lot of doors in the last few years, and you go to doors sometimes in a general election and you’re met with someone who says ‘look, I’m an EU citizen, I’ve been living here for 30 years, I’m married to a Brit.
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“‘My kids were raised and brought up here, they’re now working in the UK, we’re all working in lots of community projects but I can’t vote.’
“That feels wrong, and something ought to be done about it.”
Senior Tory MPs have warned Sir Keir is paving the way for the UK to rejoin the EU by “rigging” the system.
Conservative Party chairman Greg Hands said: “Labour’s plan to give foreign nationals the vote at Parliamentary elections is laying the groundwork to drag the UK back into the EU by stealth.
“Sir Keir spent years trying to block Brexit and overturn the largest democratic vote in this country’s history, this is an attempt to rig the electorate to re-join the EU.
“The right to vote in Parliamentary elections and choose the next UK Government is rightly restricted to British citizens and those with the closest historical links to our country.
“No other EU country allows EU citizens who are not their nationals to vote in Parliamentary elections.”
Tory MP Craig Mackinlay added: “Expansion of the voting franchise is a serious matter; democracy is a not a plaything to be manipulated at will.
“There is nothing to stop EU citizens becoming full UK citizens with the rights and duties that entails, including the right to vote in national elections.
“If Labour plans to extend the franchise to any EU citizen with settled status this would be seen as gerrymandering to achieve permanent electoral advantage and if they could stage a re-run Brexit referendum, a long established plan by Sir Keir, the likely outcome could be skewed by the millions of additional voters.
“EU member countries do not allow voting by non-citizens for long settled reasons.
“The more we see Labour’s plans to destroy Britain, the more the electorate need to understand the new dystopian year zero world that they propose. Brexit is under threat; this was always Labour’s plan. Truly sinister.”
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