KEIR Starmer says there is “no case” for rejoining the EU as the ONS reports that trade with European neighbours is plummeting.

The Labour Party leader was speaking on BBC Radio Newcastle when he assured voters in the northeast of England, who largely voted to leave, that “there was no going back”.  

Starmer campaigned to Remain during the Brexit referendum but has since U-turned on his position and embraced leaving the Union.  

He said: “What I want to see now is, not just Brexit done, not just in the sense that we are technically out of the EU. I want to make it work. I want to take advantage of the opportunities.” 

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This comes in the wake of troubling figures from the ONS which show that the UK’s economic recovery from the pandemic has been “significantly lower” than EU counterparts like Germany, and that UK exports to the EU fell by £20 billion in 2021 compared to 2018.  

The British Chamber of Commerce said: “With data from the first full year of the TCA now available, the UK is trading less with the EU, than it was three years ago. This gap is not currently being made up in terms of trade with the rest of the world.” 

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Starmer has also criticised Boris Johnson on the day that he visits Scotland as part of his levelling-up tour. He said that every time Boris Johnson visits Scotland, he “makes the case for the Union harder”. 

Starmer said: “We do have a duty to make a strong case for Union. 

“That’s what I’ve been doing when I go to Scotland but this Prime Minister does not help that cause.” 

With Starmer looking to win back large SNP strongholds in Scotland, the data would suggest that Starmer’s position may be counterproductive. With 62% of Scots voting to remain in the EU and a recent poll showing 75% of Scots do not believe they have benefitted from Brext, Starmer’s comments are likely to fall flat with most Scottish voters.  

The National: Ian Blackford had harsh words for Keir StarmerIan Blackford had harsh words for Keir Starmer

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford slammed Starmer's comments, saying: "It's now beyond doubt that independence is the only way for Scotland to regain our place in Europe - there is no way back under Westminster control. 

"Brexit was imposed against Scotland's will, and it has cost us billions of pounds in long-term damage - hammering our economy, compounding the Tory cost of living crisis, and stripping away people's rights. In a shoddy attempt to win back votes in England, Starmer's Labour Party has completely abandoned Scotland. 

"The confirmation that Labour has joined the Tories on Brexit, makes it all the more essential that people in Scotland have the choice to determine our own future in an independence referendum, so we can build a fairer, greener and European future as an independent country.” 

Speaking later on Monday evening, Scottish Labour party leader, Anas Sarwar, refused to back up Starmer's position on the EU. 

Mr Sarwar explained: “I wish we had never left the European Union and I hope we can build as close a relationship as possible going forward.

“But, we have all gone through the collective trauma of Covid over the last two years.

“Our country pulled together to help us get through, but the SNP and the Tories now want us to come through that and go back to fighting with each other again.

“Independence does not mitigate the consequences of Brexit, it multiplies them.

“After all the anger and division of recent years, layered with the trauma of the pandemic, a period of calm where we focus on rebuilding our country for the future should be our focus.”

Meanwhile, Starmer also opened up on BBC radio this morning about recieving death threats after being attacked by a mob outside Parliament. The incident occurred after Boris Johnson aimed a baseless accusation at Starmer for failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile.