Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield said Remainers “haven’t given up” and are trying to force Sir Kier Starmer to pledge to rejoin the Brussels bloc. Last week the Labour leader ordered his MPs to back Boris Johnson’s trade deal and has said he is eager to move beyond the Brexit deal.
While describing the agreement with the EU as “thin”, Sir Keir said it was better than a no deal exit.
Some members of the party’s top team quit their positions in order to vote against the trade pact.
In total 37 MPs defied the Labour leadership to reject the deal.
Ms Duffield said those frontbench MPs who followed Sir Keir’s orders and voted for the deal did so “with a heavy heart” but that they haven’t given up on the UK rejoining the EU.
She said: “Most people on the frontbench who voted for this deal last week did it with a very heavy heart and they haven’t given up either.
“We will try and shift the leadership, as and when it needs to shift towards rejoining I would imagine.”
The MP, who was appointed a Labour whip by Sir Keir Starmer before being forced to quit for breaking coronavirus lockdown rules, told the Huffington Post the party was unlikely to publicly support Rejoin in the next five years and said it may even take a new leader before there’s a major shift in position.
She said: “Possibly we might even have a different sort of set up, a different leader.”
Last week Sir Keir Starmer said he would not be seeking a major change to the UK’s relationship with the EU should become Prime Minister.
He said the “Remain/Leave argument is over” and the country must move beyond the 2016 referendum.
The Holborn and St Pancras MP told the Guardian: “In our general election campaign in 2024, we will be a future-looking Labour party and a future Labour government, not one that looks behind us.”
The issue of Brexit was unlikely to even feature heavily in the Party’s next general election manifesto, he added.
“Will the renegotiation of the treaty be central to the manifesto? No.
“If we are still arguing in 2024 about what has gone in these past four years, we’re facing the wrong way as far as I’m concerned.”
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But Ms Duffield said Labour MPs were still “hurting” and were eager to re-address the issue of membership.
She said: “The majority of the parliamentary Labour party wanted us to remain and were campaigning really hard on that and towards the end almost all of those people had signed up towards a People’s Vote.
“So the majority of us, we don’t need converting again, we’ve done all that gelling together if you like, it was pretty hellish, voting at two, three in the morning on these deals and things, and all the amendments we put forward.
“All of that hurt is still there and we are still desperate to rejoin if we possibly can I think, at heart.”
Those who backed the UK remaining in the EU have already started preparing for a new battle to rejoin the Brussels group.
According to Ms Duffield, while it is too soon to start campaigning for the UK’s return to the bloc, the foundations of the Rejoin movement are being put in place.
She said: “All the groups I was involved with are already calling themselves Rejoiners and are starting to think about that.
“I think maybe it’s a little bit too soon but we might as well start to build a movement and look at that.”