Closer ties with the EU will be a key economic priority for Labour leader Keir Starmer if he becomes Prime Minister.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Starmer said he will “attempt to get a much better deal for the UK” in 2025, when the current arrangements come up for review.
Signed by Boris Johnson at the end of 2020, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement allows for free trade in goods, but only limited access in services. It also makes provisions for cooperation in a range of different policy areas.
Speaking at a conference of centre-left leaders in Montreal, Starmer said “almost everyone recognises the deal Johnson struck is not a good deal – it’s far too thin”.
He ruled out rejoining the customs union or the single market, but said “we have to make it work…I’ve got an utter determination to make this work”. He did not specify which areas he would seek improvements.
Brexit has imposed extra costs on many British firms seeking to do business in the EU due to extra regulation. Post-Brexit divergence will continue to put up costs as businesses will have to abide by two different sets of regulations.
A recent British Chambers of Commerce survey showed that over 80 per cent of firms were unaware of new reporting requirements which are being introduced over the next couple of years.
Since Rishi Sunak took office, relations between the UK and EU have thawed. Sunak brokered the Windsor Framework, which then allowed for the long-awaited financial services MoU to be signed. Earlier this month the UK rejoined the Horizon Programme as well.