The Labour leader recently accused Boris Johnson of “damaging democracy” over the Owen Paterson sleaze row. Last night, he told MPs: “His concern as always is self-preservation, not the national interest. We will not stand by while he trashes our democracy.”
But what of his own dozens of attempts to block Britain’s departure from the EU – voted for by 52 percent of the voting public in 2016 on a 72 percent turnout?
Camilla Tominey, Associate Editor of the Telegraph, writes that the “stench of his own party’s attempts to reverse the referendum result still lingers”.
Time and time again, Sir Keir voted not for what the nation had told him – and all politicians – to be its interest, but for his own interest.
After first voting repeatedly against the EU Withdrawal Act in 2017, the then-Shadow Brexit Secretary spent the next two years voting against every pro-Brexit law put to the House of Commons.
This included voting against the Immigration Bill to end free movement, despite immigration having become a major – if not the primary – factor of the “Leave” campaign in the Brexit referendum.
He also backed a plan to limit the cost of EU citizens registering as UK citizens.
If he’d had his way, Europeans who had lived in the UK for more than five years would be granted citizenship automatically – without the need even of an application.
Immigration wasn’t Sir Keir’s only sticking point.
For him, Brexit generally was (and perhaps still is) the problem.
He tried on numerous occasions to keep the idea of a so-called ‘People’s Vote’ on Brexit – a re-run of the referendum – alive, ignoring the fact that Britons had already given a clear mandate in 2016.
The Labour leader also voted – not once but twice – against the Trade Bill, setting out the order for the creation of new trade deals.
The Agriculture Bill, ensuring a post-Brexit framework for subsidising British farmers, was another no-no, receiving two ‘no’ votes from the MP.
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Sir Kir again voted against the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, ensuring Britain left the EU with a deal in January 2020, on more than a few occasions.
Outside of Parliament, he chose to side with EU officials rather than his own voters on matters pertaining, for example, to the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Only when leadership of the Labour Party came into view did Sir Keir appear to change his tune.
Late last year, a group of Labour MPs published a report on how their party – lying stagnant in the polls – could win back the support of British voters.
They argued that Labour must issue a “full-throated apology” for “ignoring the democratic principle”.
It simply would not do for Sir Keir to “bury under the carpet his role in Brexit”, which is bound to “come back to bite him and Labour”.
Given the lengths to which the leader went to overthrow Brexit, many voters may believe an apology of this kind would be too little, too late.