Tue Apr 25, 2017 01:20PM
Labour's Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer delivers a speech on the Labour Party’s Brexit strategy on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. (AFP photo)
Labour's Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer delivers a speech on the Labour Party’s Brexit strategy on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. (AFP photo)

The United Kingdom’s opposition Labour Party says it will scrap the negotiating plan for Britain’s exit from the European Union that has been outlined by the Conservative government of Prime Minster Theresa May.

Labour's Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said on Tuesday that his party will guarantee that all EU citizens living in Britain will have the right to stay in the country if the party wins the June 8 national election.

"EU nationals do not just contribute to our society, they are our society. And they should not be used as bargaining chips," Starmer said in a speech in London.

"So on day one of a Labour government we will immediately guarantee that all EU nationals currently living in the UK will see no change in their legal status as a result of Brexit, and we will seek reciprocal rights for UK citizens in the EU," he said.

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Starmer told BBC radio earlier that May’s Brexit stance was part of her "rigid" and "reckless " strategy that was alienating EU negotiators before the talks have started. "This is all about the tone and the approach, and the tone and the approach the prime minister has taken is to say 'out out out'."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has criticized May's commitment to a "hard Brexit" outside the EU single market, but said he will not seek a second referendum on Britain's final deal with the bloc.

In a surprise move on April 18, May called a snap election to be held on June 8 in order to bolster her position before going into two years of negotiations with the EU about Britain’s departure from the bloc.

The Labour Party is around 20 points behind the Conservatives in the polls.

The European Commission says Brexit talks will be held in June after the elections in Britain. London triggered article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on March 29 to formally start negotiations on leaving the EU.

The United Kingdom held a referendum last June in which Britons voted by a 52-48 percent margin to leave the EU, the first member state ever to do so.