The leader of the Labor opposition Keir Starmer has begun a diplomatic offensive by participating in a Europol meeting and anticipating his willingness to seal an immigration agreement with the EU if he becomes prime minister. In the midst of the countdown to the general elections in 2024, the Labor Party leads the Conservative Party by 18 points while Rishi Sunak has hit rock bottom in the polls: 67% of Britons have an "unfavorable" opinion of the "premier", compared to 26% with a "positive" vision.
Starmer has taken advantage of the favorable wind in the polls to project his image as a future "premier" with a first stop in The Hague, followed by a meeting in France with Emmanuel Macron and a jump to the other side of the Atlantic, with a possible visit to the President Joe Biden.
Its debut at the Europol conclave has had a symbolic impact, since the United Kingdom lost its seat in the European security organization after Brexit (although its representatives can attend to facilitate cooperation). Leaving the EU also meant the loss of access to databases that Starmer believes could be useful in combating illegal immigration to the UK.
His plans for collaboration with the EU have been interpreted by conservative media as an express desire to reverse Brexit and the policy of "regaining control" of the borders. Starmer himself, a supporter of him on the day of his stay, qualified his statements in The Hague before the ITV cameras...
"We have left the European Union. It is not about returning to the EU, nor about integrating into the single market or the customs union, nor about returning to freedom of movement. I have made clear what our parameters are."
"But I do not accept that this prevents us from working with other European police units and with prosecutors to crush human trafficking gangs," said the 61-year-old Labor leader, highlighting his own background at the head of the Attorney General's Office between 2008 and 2013.
Starmer harshly criticized the fiasco of Rishi Sunak's immigration policy and recalled how more than 40,000 migrants have crossed the English Channel in boats since the controversial Suella Braverman was appointed Home Secretary. Starmer anticipated that a hypothetical Labor government would equate human trafficking gangs with "terrorists", but at the same time would promote greater collaboration on immigration and security with the EU.
According to Labor Party sources, cited by The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mail, Starmer would be willing to assume the "burden sharing" of immigrants among the 27, which could mean "more than 120,000 applicants for the right to asylum out of the million that arrived on EU territory last year.
The United Kingdom has broken its own record in 2023, with 215,000 pending cases of asylum applications. All the attempts of successive "Tory" governments have crashed against the wave of "irregular" immigrants who made the crossing by boat in the English Channel (the majority Albanians, Iranians and Afghans) in the last three years.
Starmer has anticipated that, if he becomes prime minister, he would automatically annul the deportation plan to Rwanda, successively paralyzed by the courts. The Labor leader has also confirmed his intention to promote the suspension of the illegal immigration law recently approved by the British Parliament at the request of Rishi Sunak's Government.