According to its foreign policy chief, the opposition Labour Party in Britain would “reconnect” with the rest of Europe if it gains power and work to undo any harm the Conservatives’ handling of Brexit may have caused.
With a significant lead over the Conservatives in surveys, Labour is presenting itself as a government in waiting and progressively laying out the foreign policy. it wants to implement if it wins the expected national election next year.
According to Lammy, a Labour administration would work to rebuild confidence with the EU after years of damaging Brexit disputes, even if it would not want Britain to rejoin the EU or its single market.
At the Chatham House think tank, Lammy told the audience, “Reconnecting Britain to Europe, while being outside of the EU, will be a primary focus of the next Labour Foreign Office.”
“Britain won’t re-join the EU, single market, or customs union under Labour. However, there is actual progress we can do inside our red lines to boost commerce with our neighbors and bring wealth home.” According to Bank of England officials, the impacts of Brexit slowed trade in Britain relative to the rest of the globe and weighed on the country’s economy.
Lammy, the most senior Labour politician to do so, said he would strive to increase trade and explore a new UK-EU security agreement rather than destroy the hopes of pro-EU campaigners by ruling out a return to the EU after Brexit.
A STATUS OF INDEPENDENCE
In an effort to improve the functioning of Britain’s independent status, Labour leader Keir Starmer announced this month that he would submit a new “Take Back Control” bill, a phrase popularised by former prime minister Boris Johnson in his push for Brexit.
Lammy expanded on that notion.
“A ‘Britain reunited’ is what I envision,” he declared. “A confident nation that is not a member of the EU but is once again a leader in Europe. a trustworthy ally, a solid neighbor, and a trusted collaborator.”
The disagreements with Brussels that characterized ties under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s two predecessors, Johnson and Liz Truss, have subsided, but London and Brussels have not yet found a solution to the post-Brexit trade issues in Northern Ireland.
The Northern Ireland protocol, which governs trade regulations with the British-run province after Brexit, has also strained ties with the US. Lammy promised to mend this by working with Washington to continue its support for Ukraine.
Additionally, he declared that Labour will establish a new State Threats Cell involving intelligence and security services to deal with “hostile actors,” pledge to restore spending on development aid, and start a “full examination” of Britain’s relations with China.
Diplomacy must be the last line of defense for the new Labour foreign policy, he insisted. “Bridging the gaps with the United States that the protocol debacle has created.”
The COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit, according to the Office for National Statistics, coincided with a decline in Britain’s level of trade openness, or the number of its trade flows compared to GDP, that was more pronounced than that of other G7 nations in recent years.
Britain was the only advanced economy in the Group of Seven whose output had not yet reached the level it had been in late 2019 before the COVID-19 epidemic as of the third quarter of 2022.