Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer visits Derry and Donegal border area

Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer and shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman met business leaders from both sides of the border. Picture by Ben Nunn
Seamus McKinney

THE British government must not “row back” on its commitment to a soft border following Brexit, Labour MP Sir Keir Starmer has warned.

The shadow Brexit secretary was speaking during a visit to Derry and Donegal yesterday where he met business leaders on both sides of the border.

Brexit Secretary David Davis has not yet visited the region.

Sir Keir travelled to Derry along with fellow Labour MP and shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman at the invitation of former Policing Board vice-chairman and Irish News columnist Denis Bradley.

Before entering politics, Sir Keir worked for a period as human rights advisor to the Policing Board during Mr Bradley's tenure.

After a business breakfast with Derry's Chamber of Commerce, Mr Bradley took him on a tour of the border region during which he visited the Grianan hill fort at Burt overlooking the area.

He also met Donegal business leaders before travelling to Belfast for meetings with political parties.

The senior Labour MP said his party would not support any Brexit deal with did not meet its tests.

“We will not back a deal back a deal that does not work for all communities in Northern Ireland."

He said the prime minister's pledges to protect north-south cooperation and avoid a hard border were the most important parts of the deal struck with the EU last month, meaning the avoidance of any physical infrastructure or related checks and controls.

Sir Keir said: “We must ensure there is no rowing back from the Tory government on the agreements they have made to avoid a hard border.”

Following his visit, the Labour shadow secretary also tweeted that anyone ruling out a customs union with the European Union should visit the Derry-Donegal area.

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