Keir Starmer on edge as Labour leader struggling with ‘complex politics’: ‘He’s strained!’

Keir Starmer ‘will not win election’ says Len McCluskey

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Sir Keir announced last week the Labour Party would oppose new Brexit legislation designed to ease trade frictions. The Labour leader opposes a Government bill under which parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol can be unapplied. He claimed ministers should continue trying to reach an agreement with the EU in the negotiations between London and Brussels to update the hated rules.

The Protocol is the controversial post-Brexit trade arrangement, under which strict customs checks have been imposed on British goods going through Northern Irish ports.

Unionist parties oppose the Protocol, arguing that it creates a de facto trade border down the Irish Sea.

As Sir Keir grapples with how to approach the situation, a political expert has explained how he is “strained” by the issues surrounding Northern Ireland.

Dr Nicholas Dickinson, from the University of Oxford, discussed the Labour leader’s Brexit response with

He said: “People saw Starmer as the sort of campaigner for a second referendum and are frustrated about how little he talks about Europe.

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“There are still a very large number of people who are extremely committed to re-joining the EU in the UK.

“It is not a majority by any means, but enough that if they sort of fall out of the Labour Party’s coalition, well, that is a problem for them as well.

“And if they have to talk about Europe and Northern Ireland a lot, well, that is going to strain the Labour coalition.”

Before the UK left the EU both sides agreed on the Protocol as a way to protect the bloc’s single market.

This is because Northern Ireland, which left the EU as part of the UK, shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland, which is still a member state.

The Protocol was also seen as a way to protect the Good Friday Agreement, the 1998 Northern Ireland peace deal.

The Government has claimed its new legislation is necessary so that the Good Friday Agreement is not undermined by political rows over the Protocol.

Dr Dickinson claimed that Sir Keir is part of a political class that struggles with the “complex politics” of the region.

He said: “You have to consider the extremely complex politics of Northern Ireland, as well as the Protocol and the relationship between Ireland and the UK.

“One of the things we have seen over the last few years is how ill-equipped so much of the British political class is to think about Ireland and Northern Ireland in a way that I think their predecessors were not.

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“But this was a generation that came up in politics at a time when Northern Ireland was seen as a settled issue.

“So, they do not have that inherent sense of it, or what the sensibilities are.”

The political expert also claimed that the Labour leader was hesitant to discuss Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

He said: “The Labour Party are going to have to talk about whether it is a good thing to compromise with the European Union and be pro-European.

“This is the last thing Starmer wants to talk about.”

Sir Keir has been criticised during his leadership of the Labour Party for changing his position on Brexit.

The politician voted to Remain in the EU but then said that he would honour the result of a referendum.

He later admitted there could be a second referendum on the UK’s EU membership, but then told Remainers that the Brexit debate was “over”.

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