01:18 GMT20 October 2020
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    Media figures on the British left have already raised suspicions over Labour leader Keir Starmer's newfound commitment to Brexit. His vocal support for an unpopular second referendum is seen as costing Labour defeat in the 2019 general election which forced left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn's resignation.

    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has been mocked for stealing Tory PM Boris Johnson's "get Brexit done" mantra.

    Sky News presenter Sophie Ridge accused Starmer on her Sunday interview show of mimicking Johnson with his new call on the government to "get on with Brexit".

    "I am quite interested in your conversion from someone who supported a second referendum to now wants to now, I quote, 'get on with Brexit'," Ridge said.

    "The Prime Minister promised there was an oven-ready deal, and he needs to get on and deliver on that promise," Starmer responded. "If he fails to do so, he owns that failure. Re-opening old wounds and going back on agreements is a distraction. Go on and get that deal".

    "You say you want to get on with Brexit, stop banging on about Europe, and focus on coronavirus", Ridge pressed, referring to an opinion piece the Labour leader wrote for the Telegraph last week.

    "I can't help wondering, given you were so passionately in favour of a second referendum, if this more about politics than principle?" she asked. "You know talking about Brexit is bad for the Labour Party and you want it all to just go away, don't you?"

    Media figures on the Labour left have already raised suspicions over Starmer's recent Damascene conversion to the cause of Brexit, highlighting how outspoken support for the unpopular 'People's Vote' campaign for a second referendum helped lose Labour the 2019 election, force out former leader Jeremy Corbyn and pave the way for the new leader's rise to the top.

    In an interview with Sky News in November 2018, Starmer claimed "Brexit can be stopped", directly contradicting Corbyn's insistence a week that the 2016 referendum result had to be be honoured and Labour should "recognise the reasons why people voted Leave".

    Earlier this month Kerry-Anne Mendoza, editor of The Canary website and herself an ardent Remain supporter, tweeted: "The entire People’s Vote bulls*** was triangulation against Corbyn and the Left. Those formerly-breathless Remainiacs won’t bat an eyelid at this".

    And Labour Heartlands editor Paul Knaggs noted the "irony" of Starmer offering to back the government's Internal Market Bill, if amended.

    "Starmer constantly undermined Corbyn on Brexit advocating for a second referendum even though it was never within Labours gift to deliver upon", he wrote on Monday.

    "Sir Keir Starmer battled to keep alive the prospect of Labour supporting a second Brexit referendum," Knaggs concluded. "It's clear Starmer as shadow Brexit secretary pushed the Labour party into an untenable position while all the time he used the so-called peoples’ vote to propel him into the leadership position".

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    Tags:
    UK general election, European Union (EU), Sky News, Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson, Keir Starmer, Brexit
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