Portsmouth visit: Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer defends Jeremy Corbyn's neutral position saying he wants 'to sit above it'

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THE Shadow Brexit secretary has defended Jeremy Corbyn's neutral position saying he wants 'to sit above’ the division.

During a visit to Portsmouth, Sir Keir Starmer made it no secret that he wants to campaign to remain if Labour wins the general election on December 12.

Sir Keir Starmer and MP Stephen Morgan arriving at The Point, Old Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Sir Keir Starmer and MP Stephen Morgan arriving at The Point, Old Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman

This is despite the Labour leader taking a neutral stance on one of the most polarising issues in politics.

Sir Keir said: ‘My position on Brexit is very easy, it is three sentences. We are going to get a better deal than Johnson has got, we are going to put it up against a referendum and we are going to do that in six months.

‘I think what most people recognise whether they voted Leave or Remain that this has been stuck with politicians for over three-and-a-half years and everybody is frustrated. What we say is take it away from the politicians and give it back to the public and give them a choice.’

When questioned on his leader’s take on Brexit, Sir Keir said: ‘Jeremy supports the referendum, what he wants to do in the referendum is to sit above it because he says the country is divided, every family, every community, every region is divided and that someone has got to sit above it and let the public make their decision and then implement it.

‘But many of us in the Labour party, Stephen and myself will all be campaigning for Remain.’ 

In response to being asked if these mixed views could potentially confuse the public as to what it means if they vote Labour, Sir Keir said: ‘There is going to be a question in the referendum of “do you want to leave with this deal?” or “do you want to remain?” and in my experience, this is my 34th constituency in this election campaign, most people recognise what it is we are offering.’

Portsmouth FC player Christian Burgess was among the audience for a Q&A session held in Croxton’s in Palmerston Road in Southsea.

Labour councillor Cal Corkery, ward member for Charles Dickens , questioned Sir Keir and Mr Morgan, who is also a Charles Dickens ward councillor, about what response he should have for the majority in his ward who voted to Leave. 

Sir Keir said the key was ‘respecting their vote’ and to listen to what they have to say.

Donna Jones (Tory), Gerald Vernon-Jackson (Lib Dem), John Kennedy (Brexit) and Steven George (Justice and Anti-Corruption Party) are standing in Portsmouth South against incumbent Mr Morgan.