Michel Barnier slaps down Starmer's bid to renegotiate Brexit deal

Michel Barnier slaps down Keir Starmer’s bid to renegotiate the UK’s Brexit deal with the EU

  •  Former EU chief Brexit negotiator said the single market could not be unravelled

Michel Barnier yesterday slapped down Sir Keir Starmer’s plan to re-write the Brexit deal while staying outside the single market.

In a blow to the Labour leader’s proposal, the European Union’s former chief Brexit negotiator said there is ‘no room for any kind of renegotiation’ on the substance of the agreement.

Sir Keir, who campaigned for a second referendum and supported the return of free movement, previously vowed to secure a ‘much better’ Brexit deal with Brussels if Labour wins the next general election.

But Mr Barnier said the single market cannot be ‘unravelled’ and warned Sir Keir he could be either ‘out or in’.

He told ITV’s Peston: ‘To be frank, there is no room for any kind of renegotiation on the substance, because as I always said during all the negotiations from day one to the last day, there is no room for any kind of unravelling of the single market,

Former chief Brexit negotiator for the EU Michel Barnier said there was ‘no room for any kind of renegotiation’ of the agreement in response to Labour plans to rewrite the deal

Mr Barnier (pictured left with Brexiter David Davis) said on ITV’s Peston that the single market could not be unravelled

‘If his point is very clear, we can improve some of the technical details – for instance the veterinary arrangements to facilitate the export of animals or vegetables. But we have to be out or in.’

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU, negotiated by Boris Johnson, is up for review in 2025.

Sir Keir has said it is an ‘important’ moment to reset relations with the bloc, but has insisted Labour would not rejoin the single market or customs union.

‘I do think we can have a closer trading relationship as well,’ he told the Financial Times last month. ‘That’s subject to further discussion.’

Sir Keir Starmer has pointed to the 2025 review of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement as a ‘important’ moment to reset relations with the EU, but has insisted that under Labour Britain wouldn’t rejoin the single market or the customs union

And earlier this year, Sir Keir said ‘we need a better Brexit deal’ to ‘make Brexit work’.

He added: ‘That doesn’t mean reversing the decision and going back into the EU, but the deal we’ve got, it was said to be oven-ready – it wasn’t even half-baked.’

Sir Keir previously said he wants to reduce border checks on animals and food, along with an agreement on the recognition of professional qualifications.

However, the Tories have accused the Labour leader of wanting to ‘re-open Brexit, hand power back to Brussels and surrender to uncontrolled, unlimited immigration’.

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