It sounds like Sir Keir’s fact-finding mission to Northern Ireland wasn’t worth the cost of the airfare; asked during an interview on BBC Radio Ulster this morning “if you were PM, how do you satisfy both sides?”, Starmer replied:
“Well I think we have to find a way to make the protocol work, and I think that a veterinary would be a good start.”
The presenter pointed out, “that’s not an agreement that’s going to satisfy unionists – unionists have already said as far as they’re concerned they don’t want to see a Swiss-style agreement, they don’t want to see a veterinary agreement, they want to see some way of getting rid of the protocol itself.”
As Lord Frost explained back in March:
“the downside to a Swiss-style SPS or veterinary agreement is that it would require our food and drink sector to accept not laws that were made in this country but the laws of the European Union. As far as this Government are concerned, that is quite a considerable downside to such an agreement. It is why we cannot accept one that is based on dynamic alignment.”
Starmer’s lack of a solid policy grasp was once again exposed during the interview when asked about both Labour’s solution to dealing with Northern Ireland’s past, and the current row about whether a controversial loyalists bonfire should be allowed to stay up:
Starmer tried deferring the decision to local police before the presenter pointed out it was a political decision for the infrastructure minister. If supposedly detail-obsessed Starmer can’t even get his factfinding in order, what hope do we have of hearing policy proposals any time soon?