Shadow Foreign Secretary outlines plans for improved economic and defence relations
David Lammy, the shadow foreign secretary, has outlined Labour’s plans to strengthen Britain’s ties with the European Union (EU) in an effort to mend the bitter fallout caused by Brexit. Speaking at a conference fringe event hosted by the Tony Blair Institute, Lammy emphasised the need to rebuild relations with Europe and described the current trade deal negotiated by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as a “starting point” for a broader reset.
Lammy, a prominent Remain campaigner within his party, acknowledged the lengthy and acrimonious divorce process between Britain and the EU. He compared the current situation to a divorce, stating that it would be unrealistic to think that two parties could rekindle a relationship without first getting to know each other anew.
The shadow foreign secretary stressed that a Labour government’s approach would involve structured dialogue and building on existing partnerships with European allies. Lammy also expressed a desire to establish a formal defence pact with the EU, a proposal previously dismissed by Prime Minister Johnson. He criticised the government’s lack of engagement with Europe, particularly in long-term security planning and bilateral discussions.
While Labour reaffirmed that it does not seek re-entry into the Single Market or the Customs Union, Lammy emphasised the party’s intention to review the current trade agreement in 2025. He argued that the trade deal negotiated by Johnson falls short of striking the right balance and suggested that a fundamental overhaul is necessary.
Labour’s proposed changes include reducing bureaucratic obstacles for businesses and establishing a veterinary agreement to eliminate border checks on food products. Additionally, the party aims to forge closer ties with the EU by addressing visa constraints on professionals.
Although there have been private expressions of skepticism from Brussels regarding these plans, with the EU viewing the review as a technical exercise, Labour remains determined to pursue its vision of a stronger relationship with the bloc. Story Source