Keir Starmer, the Labour leadership frontrunner, has declined to rule out campaigning to rejoin the EU in the years ahead, saying it was a question for future generations.
The shadow Brexit secretary said he did not think it was a “priority for now and the immediate future,” and has previously said the question of leaving the EU is over.
But when pressed to rule out advocating rejoining the EU in future, he said: “It’s for our kids to decide what our future relationship is.”
Starmer was the only candidate not to rule out campaigning to reverse Brexit at a Labour hustings hosted by the Mirror in Dudley.
Rebecca Long-Bailey was the candidate who posed the question of her two rival for the leadership and she ruled it out herself.
Lisa Nandy said: “I’d rule it out. We haven’t got the option, we’ve lost that right because we didn’t take the deal that ticked every box that we had about protecting close economic and political cooperation. We refused to do it.”
A close ally of the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, the Salford MP and shadow business secretary has been groomed as a potential leftwing contender for the top job.
The Wigan MP has built a reputation as a campaigner for her constituency and others like it, many of which have fallen to the Tories. A soft-left candidate, she resigned from the shadow cabinet in 2016 over Corbyn’s leadership and handling of the EU referendum.
Ambitious former director of public prosecutions has led the charge for remain in the shadow cabinet. He was instrumental in shifting Labour’s position towards backing a second referendum
Pitch Launched his campaign by highlighting how he has stood up for leftwing causes as a campaigning lawyer, and unveiled the slogan “Another Future is Possible”, arguing “Labour can win again if we make the moral case for socialism“
Starmer was instrumental in shifting Labour’s position in favour of a second referendum before the election.
But he told the hustings that the party’s Brexit policy had not been the main factor in its election defeat.
He told the hustings that if people think “we were cruising to victory but for Brexit then I’ll suggest they weren’t out there campaigning”.
Starmer has previously said: “I don’t think there’s really any question of rejoining the EU.
“We’ve just left the EU. The leave-remain debate is over. The divide is over and we need to let it go. All of us, whichever way we voted.”