'Tying ourselves by the backdoor!’ Brexit warning issued by Ann Widdecombe as Keir Starmer threatens ‘tremendous damage’

'Tying ourselves by the backdoor!’ Brexit warning issued by Ann Widdecombe as Keir Starmer threatens ‘tremendous damage’

Ann Widdecombe has issued a grave warning over the prospects of a Labour government

Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 25/09/2023

- 17:12

The Labour leader has spoken on the importance of 'not diverging' from the bloc

Former Tory minister Ann Widdecombe has fired a Brexit warning amid fears that Sir Keir Starmer will row back on a series of promises offered upon the UK’s departure of the bloc.

The Labour leader told a conference of centre-left leaders in Canada that his party would seek to “not diverge” from EU rules should he become prime minister at the next general election.

In footage obtained by Sky News, Starmer could be heard adding to his pro-EU sentiments by asserting the UK and Brussels “share a future together”.

Speaking on GB News, Widdecombe warned the Labour leader could cause “tremendous damage” to the UK’s post-Brexit ambitions.

Keir Starmer and Ann Widdecombe

Ann Widdecombe says Keir Starmer could spell 'tremendous trouble' for Brexiteers


“If they [Labour] start taking out agreements with the EU, they could do a tremendous amount of damage”, she said.

“We don’t need a situation in Britain where one minute you’re close to the EU, the next you’re diverging from them.


“We Brexited, we should be maximising the benefits of Brexit. Anybody not committed to maximising the benefits of Brexit should not be trusted.”

Starmer has previously remained coy publicly on his vision for future EU-UK relations, but offered more of an insight last week.

Speaking at an international summit of politicians including Canadian PM Justyin Trudeau, he stressed the importance of working with the bloc to “solve problems”.

“Most of the conflict with the UK being outside of the (EU) arises insofar as the UK wants to diverge and do different things to the rest of our EU partners,” he said.

Mark Dolan speaks to Ann Widdecombe on GB News

Ann Widdecombe told Mark Dolan that she is concerned about the threat Starmer poses to Brexit


“Obviously the more we share values, the more we share a future together, the less the conflict, and actually, different ways of solving problems become available.

“Actually we don’t want to diverge, we don’t want to lower standards, we don’t want to rip up environmental standards, working standards for people that work, food standards and all the rest of it.

“Suddenly you’re in a space where notwithstanding the obvious fact that we are outside the EU and not in the EEA, there’s a lot more common ground than you might think.”

Widdecombe was scathing about Starmer’s EU ambitions, arguing that she “never doubted” his hope for stronger ties.

“It’s by design”, she told Mark Dolan. “Don’t forget, Starmer was in favour of a second referendum.

“He didn’t want to accept the will of the British people and he still doesn’t. This is just a way of tying ourselves to the EU by the back door.

“I don’t think we will rejoin, the costs would be horrendous.

“The whole point of Brexit was diverging and doing our own thing, do our own trade deals.”

Labour sources have hit out at the suggestion that they are in favour of rejoining, with a spokesperson saying: “We don’t support dynamic alignment.

Shadow minister Wes Streeting told GB News that Labour have "got the message" on the matter.

“We’re not joining the single market or the customs union.

“We will not be in a situation where we are a rule-taker.”

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