Lifestyle, Manchester, News

Labour’s Keir Starmer talks life after Brexit

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Humanity Hallows Issue 5 Out Now
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By Bethany Perkin

Keir Starmer, or Sir Keir Starmer as Andy Burnham reminded the audience at a Labour North West meeting, is known for being a Human Rights lawyer and Labour MP. Starmer is a relatively new MP; he first took his parliamentary seat for Holburn & St Pancras in May 2015. In that time, as he acknowledged, a lot of change has taken place: “Not very much of it for the better.”

Starmer spoke alongside Burnham, the Labour Mayoral candidate for Manchester, and addressed business leaders about the type of Brexit deal that needs to be achieved. Speaking to Humanity Hallows after the event, he praised universities such as Manchester Met, saying, “One of the great challenges [of a Brexit deal] is to make sure that we offer a future that makes people want to come here and study.”

He added, “Places like Manchester Met are jewels in the crown. We have such brilliant universities, such brilliant colleges and lots and lots of international students want to come here and that is great. We have got to keep it happening.”

An important consideration in the coming months, while Brexit talks are underway, is what will happen to the recruitment of international students. Starmer believes that they are an important asset to any university. He said, “Personally, I would take international students out of the net migration figures and treat them as what they are, which is students coming here, and make them very welcome.”

However, ensuring a fair deal for cities like Manchester will be difficult given that Labour are the opposition party. Starmer believes that collaboration is the answer. This means unity within the Labour Party, who are supporting his six tests for a fair Brexit deal and collaboration with EU countries: “I think the Labour party is in a position to go out there across Europe, speak to our partners in the other EU countries and make sure that we have a proper sense of what all of the EU countries want out of this.”

What became clear in his address was that although the population has been almost split by the decision to leave the EU, the result must be accepted to achieve a fair Brexit deal.

The majority of Greater Manchester’s boroughs voted to leave the EU. This was despite the city centre having the strongest Remain vote in the North West. Even though Starmer himself campaigned to remain in the EU, he thinks the result must now be accepted: “I accept the result and that means I see my job as helping to hold the government to account.”

To ensure that British people had a voice within the upcoming negotiations, Starmer visited businesses, not only in London, but all over the UK. One of the concerns mentioned at the meeting was to avoid a “London-centric” Brexit deal. During these visits, companies were given a blank piece of paper and asked to write down, from their own perspective, what needed to happen to ensure the sustainability of their own company.

Whilst issues such as tariffs were to be expected, one of the more surprising results of this endeavour, was a call for regulatory alignment. Starmer said, “This is what the Prime Minister needs to fight for.”

Starmer’s parting message at the meeting was simple, “Do we look back in grief or shape the future?”

He finished, “Shape the future; that is our duty.”

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