Rachel Reeves set out Labour’s Brexit policy at a LabourList and UK in a Changing Europe event this week in which she said the UK would not be back in the European Union under a Labour government.
“Under a Labour government, we will have a close relationship with the EU but we won’t be back in the EU. I know that is something that is sad and difficult to come to terms with for a lot of us, but I think that is the reality we have to face up to,” she said.
Explaining her view of Brexit before the 2019 election, the Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster said she “reluctantly” backed a fresh public vote because “it felt like there was no other way out”.
She said: “I felt getting a deal through parliament then putting it to the people was the best of resolving the stalemate we had reached. I still think that would have been better than the situation we are in now.”
But Reeves, now in charge of Labour’s Brexit policy as Michael Gove’s opposite number, was frank about the new position that the party has taken since Keir Starmer took over the leadership in April.