Bitter row breaks out between Corbyn aide and Brexit supremo Sir Keir Starmer over Brexit date
- Shadow Brexit Secretary, Sir Keir Starmer recently said it was ‘inevitable’ that Brexit would not be achieved by March 29
- Key Corbyn aide Seumas Milne, labelled by Labour insiders as a ‘hard-core Brexiteer’, is said to have been taken aback by Sir Keir’s abrupt statement
- But other Labour sources played down talk of a major rift between the pair
A bitter row has broken out between key Jeremy Corbyn aide Seumas Milne and Labour’s Brexit supremo Sir Keir Starmer over delaying Britain’s departure from the EU.
Sources say Sir Keir, the Shadow Brexit Secretary, took Mr Milne by surprise by declaring that it was ‘inevitable’ that Brexit would not be achieved by March 29.
He told MPs: ‘I actually genuinely think we can’t do it on March 29 this year.
‘It’s simply not viable, for so many practical reasons. There is a question of extension of Article 50 and that may well be inevitable now given the position that we are in.’
Key Jeremy Corbyn aide Seumas Milne (left) and Sir Keir Starmer (right), the Shadow Brexit Secretary, have had a bust up over delaying Britain’s departure from the EU
Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Keir Starmer and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn listen to Prime Minister Theresa May’s statement in the House of Commons in London on Brexit
But the move is said to have infuriated party strategy chief Mr Milne – labelled by Labour insiders as a ‘hard-core Brexiteer’. He shares Mr Corbyn’s distrust of Brussels and EU ‘state aid’ rules, which he fears would hinder a future Labour government’s freedom of action.
It also comes amid panic among Northern Labour MPs that ‘backsliding’ over Brexit would cost the party vital support among anti-EU voters in its heartlands, and wreck Labour’s chances of winning the next Election.
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One MP said privately: ‘What many of our London-based MPs don’t seem to realise is that we can’t just dump our commitment to Brexit and not lose votes in seats in the North.’
But other Labour sources played down talk of a major rift between Mr Milne and Sir Keir.
One said: ‘It’s not that there is some massive split between them over the Brexit date.
‘It’s more that Seumas doesn’t want to let the Tories off the hook over this.’
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