The mask slips: Starmer plans yet ANOTHER deal with Brussels as Labour seeks 'systematic cooperation' with EU

The mask slips: Starmer plans yet ANOTHER deal with Brussels as Labour seeks 'systematic cooperation' with EU
Millie Cooke

By Millie Cooke

Published: 08/12/2023

- 10:33

Updated: 08/12/2023

- 12:40

Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey promised to 'rebuild relationships' that were 'badly damaged' by Brexit

Sir Keir Starmer is eyeing yet another deal with Brussels, with Labour looking to strike a defence pact with the bloc.

Speaking following a visit to the NATO headquarters in Brussels yesterday, Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey said: "We would look to put in place systematic cooperation and a defense and security pact with the European Union.

"We would begin work directly after the election."

Healey promised to "rebuild relationships" that were "badly damaged" by Brexit.

WATCH: Starmer rejects claims Labour wants to 'unpick Brexit' 

He said: "If we win the election ... we must rebuild relationships with key allies and with the European Union.

"Relationships that were badly damaged, sometimes deliberately so, during the Brexit process."

Healey added: "We in the U.K. have particular expertise in military and security intelligence.

"I know from the EU that they would welcome U.K. support in those sorts of areas."

But he would not commit to joining the European Defence Fund, an EU fund designed to boost research and innovation which Norway is a part of.

Healey said: "What I would be looking for would be for Britain to have its properly bespoke relationship."

A treaty on defence and security between the UK and EU was included in the political declaration that set out the terms of a post-Brexit relationship, but such a pact did not make it to the final deal signed by the EU and UK.

The Shadow Defence Minsiter also said he wants to sign a separate defence and security bilateral agreement with Germany "within six months" of an election if Labour takes power.

The deal could see the two nations cooperate on production, procurement and research.

Earlier this year, Starmer confirmed he is planning to renegotiate the UK's relationship with the EU if he is elected.

The Labour Leader said he wants a closer trading relationship with the bloc, dismissing the 2020 deal struck by Boris Johnson as "not a good deal".

The deal is up for review in 2025. Starmer said he owes it to his children to strike a new partnership with Brussels and rebuild the relationship.


Starmer said the 2025 renewal date is an "important" moment to reset relations with the bloc.

The Leader of the Opposition, who is around 20 points ahead of the Conservative Party in the polls, told the Financial Times: "I do think we can have a closer trading relationship as well. That’s subject to further discussion."

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