Keir Starmer visited Headingley to address local residents about the Brexit process and Labour’s vision for the future. He said that Labour was ready to take up the challenge of the negotiations if a general election takes place within the next two years. He also criticised the Lib Dems for the strategy of simply ‘Rubbing out Yesterday.’ Starmer, the shadow Secretary of State for Brexit, was introduced by local Leeds North West MP Alex Sobel who described Brexit as ‘an impending cliff Edge’ and outlined Labour’s plan to ‘reset the negotiations’ if they take power within the next two years. The event, which took place in the Heart Centre on Bennett Road, was so busy that there was an impromptu overspill event in the courtyard outside for those who were not fortunate enough to make it into the venue.
Keir Starmer described Labour’s first act when taking over the negotiations. He said “The first thing we would do is reset the negotiation with Brussells. We would reset the tone and the approach, instead of the beligerance [and the attitude of] ‘we don’t need you, we are better off without you’, we would say ‘we see you as your partners, we share history with you, we share values with you and we want to share our future with you’”
He also went on to criticise the Liberal Democrat approach to Brexit saying “This is the distinction between the Lib Dem approach and the Labour approach. I’ve been driven partly as a politician and partly as a dad because presented with a situation that I didn’t want to be in and a massive challenge, I had the choice and the party had a choice, you can either walk to the challenge and wrestle it to the ground or you look backwards and try and rub out yesterday. They are fundamentally different things. If all you’ve got to say about the future is that you’re going to rub out yesterday, you will not shape the future. And the question that the Lib Dems couldn’t answer at the general election was ‘if your thesis of rubbing out yesterday fails then what are you going to do?’ And many many people who voted to remain have said to me that ‘I don’t want to vote for a party that has one strategy and then can’t do anything if that doesn’t work.’”
Alex Sobel said “I am concerned about the potential cliff edge that we face with Brexit and the tone of the negotiations so far. The uncertainty for businesses, for jobs and for student Erasmus programmes is very harmful for people living in Leeds North West and across the country. Labour will reset the negotiations and put these issues at the top of the agenda.”