Keir Starmer vows to build bridges with EU as he tours Britain after election triumph

Keir Starmer vows to build bridges with EU as he tours Britain after election triumph

Sir Keir Starmer has pledged to ‘build bridges’ with the EU as he embarks on a tour of Britain in the wake of his election victory.

The Prime minister touched down in Edinburgh on Sunday where he vowed to “deliver for Scotland” and met Scottish first minister John Swinney from the SNP.

It was the first stop in a tour in which he will meet with leaders in Wales and Northern Ireland as well as regional mayors and explain his blueprint for the future under Labour.

He has already held a series of calls with world leaders and his ministers have indicated their priorities including a new border patrol command to tackle immigration and a fresh aid package for Ukraine.

The Prime Minister said he wanted better trading and security relationships with Brussels as he vowed to rip up the “botched” deal struck by Boris Johnson.

Speaking to reporters in Edinburgh, Sir Keir pledged to “deliver for Scotland” but also emphasised the need to build bridges with EU.

He said: “We intend to improve our relationship with the EU and that means closer trading ties with the EU, it means closer ties in relation to research and development and closer ties in relation to defence and security.

“Obviously, there are many discussions to be had and negotiations to be had.

“But I do think that we can get a much better deal than the botched deal that Boris Johnson saddled the UK with.”

He added that it depends on “respectful relationships, talking to leaders across the EU and of course that work has already begun”.

Foreign Secretary David Lammy has already travelled to Europe for talks with key players, with a promise that the UK would be a “good neighbour” after the years of Brexit acrimony.

Speaking to reporters in Edinburgh, Sir Keir said: “We intend to improve our relationship with the EU and that means closer trading ties with the EU, it means closer ties in relation to research and development and closer ties in relation to defence and security.

“Obviously, there are many discussions to be had and negotiations to be had.

“But I do think that we can get a much better deal than the botched deal that Boris Johnson saddled the UK with.”

He added that it depends on “respectful relationships, talking to leaders across the EU and of course that work has already begun”.

The Prime Minister is expected to meet the first ministers of Northern Ireland and Wales on Monday after seeing John Swinney on Sunday. He is also planning to meet all metro mayors in his first week in office.

Sir Keir said he had a “mandate from all four nations” and will seek to “establish a way of working across the United Kingdom that will be different and better to the way of working that we’ve had in recent years.”

Meanwhile David Lammy said the Government’s proposal for an “ambitious and broad-ranging” UK-EU security pact would seek to “underpin closer co-operation between us”.

He added: “Today, we all share a commitment to democracy, human rights and international law. Tragic experiences in our continent’s shared past have helped us to understand how our shared security and prosperity depend on these shared values.

“And I believe these values also offer a foundation for closer partnership in the future. My visit this weekend is just the beginning. I look forward to seeing Britain reconnect with our European neighbours in the years ahead.”

Irish premier Simon Harris said there was a “willingness” in the EU to talk to the new UK government.

Meanwhile Home secretary Yvette Cooper has set out the first steps to establishing a new UK Border Security Command to tackle the people-smuggling gangs bringing migrants across the Channel in small boats.

Recruitment of a border security commander, who will report directly to the Home Secretary, will begin on Monday, with the new recruit expected to take up their post in the coming weeks, the Home Office said.

Meanwhile The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said defence secretary John Healey has directed officials to ensure a package of support to Ukraine pledged in April by the last government should be delivered in full within the next 100 days.