Sir Keir Starmer has rejected the idea of calling for an extension to the Brexit transition period due to the coronavirus crisis, rebuking pressure from Remain supporters.
Urging Boris Johnson to stay true to his word, the Labour leader said he wants the PM to prove he can "get Brexit done" with his promised "oven-ready deal."
“And just delaying it further isn’t going to help with the great uncertainty there already is for businesses. So, I say to the Prime Minister, get on and deliver the deal that you promised. Get on and deliver it this week, today, tomorrow, and then we can recall parliament and deal with it," he stated.
During his address, Starmer focussed on Labour's strategy in Scotland said businesses "across the UK are tearing their hair out on that uncertainty because the government is saying to them ‘prepare for this, prepare for that’. But they don’t know what they’re preparing for."
— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) December 21, 2020
This comes amid calls from backbench politicians, including Tories, to extend the transition period beyond the 31 December deadline as the UK faces a new pandemic-related crisis as the country has scrapped its five-day loosening of restrictions to allow festive events to take place.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also called on Westminster to extend the transition period as the country focuses on the pandemic and Brexit talks remain deadlocked.
This indicates that Brexit remains a largely toxic issue for the Labour Party. Starmer, who many credit as the architect of his predecessor's second referendum policy, has consistently urged the government to deliver on the deal promised during last year's general election.
Labour was punished in 2019 by Leave-voting constituencies shifting towards the Conservatives. However, they also faced pressure from Remain supporters, many of which supporter Sir Keir's previous Brexit position, to oppose the UK's withdrawal from the European Union.