Dhe British Labor Party has a new leader: Brexit specialist Keir Starmer will lead the party in the future. He was considered a favorite in the vote. Party and union members and supporters of the largest opposition party were able to vote on Jeremy Corbyn’s successor from February 21 to April 2. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the result was announced on the Internet rather than at a special party convention as planned.
Starmer competed against Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy. The 57-year-old former human rights lawyer is considered an opponent of Brexit. But he should now be careful not to call out too loudly for an extension of the Brexit transition phase because the issue is currently taking a back seat due to the Corona crisis and also because the party base is divided on the matter. During a podium debate with his competitors in February, Starmer had said: “The dispute about staying or leaving is over.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has so far firmly persisted in completing the detachment from the EU by the end of the year. However, given the massive changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic, hardly anyone believes this anymore. Failure of the negotiations, which cannot take place at the moment, would deal an additional blow to the economy, which is already weakened by the lockdown. Great Britain is still bound by EU rules until the end of the year. The transition phase can be extended by up to two years until July.
Even with criticism of the government’s reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, Starmer is likely to hold back at first, so as not to give the impression of wanting to capitalize on the political crisis. The Labor party had a catastrophic result in Corbyn’s December general election. Nevertheless, Corbyn remained in office for another four months.