Theresa May wrong, says former Labour Party leader

Written by by Rachael Williams, CNN Tech Desk

Keir Starmer tells CNN’s Nina Dos Santos that Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will go to the country with a no-deal Brexit or a deal with the EU’s other 27 members.

“If you only have two choices it’s just sheer madness to actually accept the most economically damaging position,” he said. “If you’re going to throw yourself back into the middle of World War One politics in the UK, we are throwing all we have away on what just looks like a political problem.”

“The Chequers proposals were entirely bad for business — far worse than anybody like me ever imagined,” he continued. “And as far as I’m concerned the only way forward in terms of securing a good Brexit is to reverse them.”

To discuss Brexit, the journalist says he’s been commissioned by The New Statesman magazine to look at what Corbyn and the opposition Labour Party stand for.

A former Labour leader, Starmer is now the shadow Brexit Secretary.

He has a very different view on May’s stance of the process.

“I don’t accept she’s a liar. I just think she’s got the biggest political problem we’ve ever had to do with Brexit in terms of failing to keep the party in line, failing to deal with her own party, failing to deal with people outside of the party,” he said.

“You can’t describe the principles which you’ve got to bring together with all of the other people you’ve got to try and reconcile these views and policies,” he added.

“Maybe she genuinely believes that’s the best way to do it. Well that’s a decision. But I don’t think she did.”

The UK is due to leave the EU on March 29, 2019 but there is still a lot of uncertainty about what that will look like, given that May wants to formally deliver Brexit, despite it not having passed parliament.

Britain’s House of Commons voted on Tuesday night against May’s Brexit proposals that would have given the UK the option of following EU rules even in goods and agriculture.

Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron resigned in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, but Starmer says it’s vital for a politician to be prepared to resign in these circumstances.

“If you’re the person who said I wish we’d stayed in and I’ll lead the next election, you’ve got to lead it. There’s no point being a leadership candidate if you can’t actually lead the party and as soon as you can, show you know what the best options are.”

A former journalist, Starmer said that both May and U.S. President Donald Trump “shackled” Britain’s democracy by being so tightly controlled.

Starmer believes Brexit was a mistake from the beginning.

“I think a year ago people didn’t know what they were voting for and they now know exactly what they’re voting for. Whether the public knows what they’re voting for politically, and frankly whether the most senior political figures do, we don’t know yet.

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