David Lammy, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, has declared that the European Union will be Labour's "number-one priority" in foreign policy once in Government. Lammy emphasized the importance of strong ties with Brussels and called for more regular discussions between the UK and the EU. He made these remarks during an episode of the i podcast Labour's Plan For Power.
Lammy stated that the EU is Labour's top priority because it is "our backyard" and highlighted the ongoing conflicts in Europe. He believes that the UK's future prosperity and security rely on maintaining good relationships with European partners.
Lammy called for a "tonal shift" in UK-EU relations and stressed the need for structured dialogue. He expressed surprise that the UK Government does not engage in regular discussions with the EU to address important issues. Lammy emphasized the importance of returning to this practice.
While Labour's focus is on the EU, Lammy clarified that there are no current plans to rejoin the EU. He stated that a cross-party consensus and demonstration of Britain's commitment would be necessary before rejoining the bloc, which he does not foresee happening in the near future.
Tory chairman Richard Holden criticized Lammy's comments, accusing Labour of prioritizing ideology over the interests of the country. Holden highlighted Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer's past support for remaining in the EU and accused the party of putting ideology before local people and the country.
Since becoming leader, Sir Keir Starmer has made it clear that Labour does not support rejoining the EU's single market or customs union. The party aims to avoid becoming a "rule-taker" if it comes to power. Starmer's recent choice of the EU anthem as the piece of classical music that represents the Labour Party has drawn criticism, but a source close to him denied any intentional association with the bloc.