“Extreme Brexiteers”, rather than the government, are controlling Britain’s negotiations with the EU, Sir Keir Starmer has warned
The Shadow Brexit Secretary blamed Theresa May for letting Leave hardliners “run the show”.
“That is a failure of the prime minister,” he said, describing Mrs May’s attitude to the EU as “belligerent and hostile”.
The Labour MP for Holborn and St Pancras made the comment during an interview with BBC journalist Jo Coburn at an event held by Jewish human rights charity Rene Cassin on Tuesday at JW3 in Finchley Road, north-west London.
Sir Keir, who campaigned against Brexit during last year’s referendum, told the audience that it was irresponsible for Remainers to promote the idea that Brexit could be reversed.
“Is it politically likely? The answer is no,” he said.
“I accept the outcome [of the Referendum] and it is disrespectful to the millions of people that voted to leave to try to change it.”
He added: “There has to be a time where national interests trump party interests and that is now.
“It is in our interest to wish the government success in these negotiations and I do. I don’t want the short-term political gain if the government messes this up.”
The former human rights lawyer said Brexit did not have to mean a “prohibition” on the rights or values that are important to the Jewish community, such as those protected by the European Convention on Human Rights, which was established after the Holocaust.
“It goes to the heart of my interests. After the Second World War the world came together to recognise human rights are universal and that must never be broken.”
The government said it would not withdraw from the ECHR but some fear they could try to amend parts of the Human Rights Act after the UK leaves the EU.
Sir Keir said this idea was “absurd”.
He was adamant there should be a vote in the event of a "no deal”, which he said “no MP will support. It will be voted down”.
When asked about Labour and antisemitism, he said his party had not “spoken out loudly enough about it”.
He had welcomed Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to ask Baroness Chakrabarti to investigate antisemitism in Labour’s ranks last year, and said it was important to follow her recommended guidelines.
The former Director of Public Prosecutions said the disciplinary panel which decided not to expel Ken Livingstone for suggesting Hitler supported Zionism “got it wrong.
“No good has come out of any of this apart from the fact it has come out.
“When any organisation tells people it will adopt zero tolerance on something, those words need to mean something.
“What is really important is changing the culture and we are all responsible for that.
“We need to make people feel different about being in the Labour Party.”