Guy Verhofstadt begs Britain to rejoin the EU

Keir Starmer discusses Brexit and a second referendum

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Guy Verhofstadt has said Britain rejoining the European Union in the next five years is a “dream” of his. Echoing the famous speech by civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King Jr., the MEP said: “I have a dream.”

Mr Verhofstadt has previously claimed Brexit is “unworkable”, criticising Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer for ruling out a return to the EU.

He said: “The devil is not in the detail – the very idea of Brexit is unworkable.

“As long as Starmer continues to rule out re-joining the single market and the EU itself, Britain will be poorer off, as is the EU.”

But Mr Verhofstadt, veteran MEP and the former European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator suggested that Sir Keir has his priorities in the right place, saying: “What the Western world needs now is to come together around precisely the areas Starmer mentions: science, technology, research, security, foreign affairs”.

Sir Keir has ruled out a second referendum, adopting a “make Brexit work” approach and ruled out support for a Swiss-style model of closer economic ties.

The Labour leader has previously said there is “no case” for returning to the EU or the single market.

When questioned on whether he could change his mind on the issue in December, the Labour leader responded: “No, I don’t think. We left and having left there is no case now for saying ‘go back’ and back into the single market and customs union.”

However, other figures in the Labour party have campaigned to rejoin the EU.

London mayor Sadiq Khan called for a “pragmatic debate” on rejoining the European Union in a speech earlier in January.

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He accused ministers of having “select amnesia” when it comes to Brexit, describing it as “one of the root causes of our problems”.

Mr Khan said politicians “can’t keep quiet about the immense damage Brexit is doing”.

Speaking at Mansion House, the politician said: “Ministers seem to have developed selective amnesia when it comes to one of the root causes of our problems.”

“Brexit can’t be airbrushed out of history or the consequences wished away…

“We need greater alignment with our European neighbours – a shift from this extreme, hard Brexit we have now to a workable version that serves our economy and people.

“That includes having a pragmatic debate about the benefits of being a part of the customs union and the single market.”

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