Labour: Lammy defends calls to 'embrace Blair's legacy'
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Emily Thornberry, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, questioned whether it makes “any sense” to put “all this energy” into securing international deals post-Brexit. Greg Hands, Minister of State for Trade Policy, ripped into the Labour MP for her comments, and Express.co.uk readers made their opinions heard.
Ms Thornberry told an event at the Institute for Government her “biggest priority” would be to “fix the big trade deal with the European Union”.
The Labour MP voted for the EU/UK trade deal on December 30.
She told the conference: “I think that in terms of priorities on trade deals, I would begin with trying to repair the trade deal that we already have with the European Union.
“I think really our priority should be that, rather than spending time trying to score smaller trade deals that make very little difference.”
Ms Thornberry also said her focus would be on the EU rather than other deals, such as entry to the £9trillion Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
In response, Mr Hands blasted Ms Thornberry for the comments, and said that despite Sir Keir Starmer’s claim that Labour has accepted Brexit and moved on, its “top team continues to focus on old divides”.
He added: “It beggars belief that Labour’s trade chief says we shouldn’t waste energy on trade deals with the rest of the world and instead focus on the EU – who we already have a trade deal with.
“It shows that even now, Starmer’s Labour refuse to believe in Britain’s potential to forge new trade and jobs with our allies across the world and instead continue to focus only on trade with the EU.”
Responding to an Express.co.uk story, readers fired barbs at the Labour Party over Ms Thornberry’s comments.
One said: “Thornberry simply wants the UK to sign up to the EU single market and customs union as a precursor to rejoining the EU.
“Fat chance of that!”
Another reader added: “Thornberry is great. She, and some of her chums, will keep Labour out of power forever.”
In a scathing assessment of Labour under Sir Keir, readers said the party needs “wiping out at the next GE”.
One reader said: “Despite what Starmer says, his Labour Party has not accepted Brexit and moved on.
“With several key people in his top team still looking to return the country to the EU, they will never be electable.
“If they are ever going to be relevant in British politics again they have to reconstruct themselves from top to bottom and back again.
“However, there are too many of them who would be out on their backsides to let that happen.
“If I were him I’d give up being an MP and return to being a lawyer.”
Another Express.co.uk reader said of Labour: “How different this would all have been if the whole HOC had got behind the democratic vote, but oh no to them the voting population are too stupid and only the politicians know what is best.”
In March, Sir Keir told Hartlepool voters “we are looking forwards not backwards” in regards to Brexit.
He said: “The referendum was five years ago now. We have left the EU.
“There is no case for rejoining. We want to make our exit a success.”
But under Jeremy Corbyn in 2019, Sir Keir backed a second referendum on Brexit.
In June 2020, the Labour Together report on the 2019 election concluded that the second referendum policy was a major contributor to the party’s defeat “by a country mile”.
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