Sir Keir Starmer vows to cut taxes for working people and rules out Swiss-style EU deal

Sir Keir Starmer has said he wants to cut taxes for working people and ruled out a Swiss-style deal with the EU if he wins the next election.

However, the Labour leader declined to "spell out our manifesto now" when pressed for details on his position.

He said Labour's offer will be to "stabilise and grow our economy", stressing that "everything hangs off that".

Politics live: Truss and Johnson join forces in headache for Sunak

"Quite often the Labour Party doesn't want to fight an election on the economy," he told the Telegraph's Chopper's Politics podcast.

"We want to fight the election on the economy. We've got to grow our economy, because that's the only way that we can actually make the progress that we need to make."

Sir Keir said working people have been "clobbered" by the current tax burden - the highest sustained level since the Second World War.

"I want taxes to come down for working people.

"They've been really clobbered time and time again, whether that's on income tax, whether it's national insurance or council tax or the stealth tax thresholds, everywhere you look."

Sir Keir warned it is "very important" that "we don't make promises we can't keep".

But pressed on whether the hope is to bring taxes down if Labour wins power, he said: "I would like to see lower tax on working people, yes."

Sir Keir was also asked about how he would improve Britain's relationship with the EU, following warnings from experts that Brexit has damaged the economy and hampered trade.

The Sunday Times reported the government was weighing up a Swiss-style deal behind closed doors, but Rishi Sunak denied this was the case as he addressed business leaders on Monday.

Sir Keir said he would also not pursue a Swiss-style relationship with Brussels, which would mean a closer alignment with the single market and EU laws.

"I went to Switzerland and studied that model and I wouldn't do a Swiss model," the Labour leader said.

But he said the current deal "isn't good enough".

Sir Keir also suggested he has no intention of calling a second Scottish independence referendum during the next Parliament, as he ruled out a pact with the SNP.

It comes after the Supreme Court ruled that another independence referendum cannot be held without the backing of Westminster, in a major blow to Nicola Sturgeon and her Scottish National Party.

Read More:
Starmer says Britain's 'immigration dependency' must end

The next general election is not due until January 2025 at the latest, but Labour has been pitching itself as a government in waiting as the party enjoys a substantial lead in the polls.

However, Sir Keir said he has warned his shadow cabinet against "complacency" insisting "every single vote has to be earned".

The Labour leader also argued his MPs should not be on picket lines as the country braces for sweeping public sector strikes over the festive period.

This has been a controversial position for him to take, given Labour traditionally supports workers and unions.

But Sir Keir said: "I don't think the role of a Labour politician is to be on the picket line. I think the role of a Labour politician is to get out of opposition and into government and to resolve these issues."