With the general election campaign fully underway, FactCheck will be scrutinising parties of all stripes from across the UK – on their claims, their promises and their records.

Keir Starmer has been Labour leader for four years. Here are three promises he’s broken.

Free movement with the EU

It was one of the most contentious questions in the EU referendum: whether the UK could, or should, keep freedom of movement with the EU after Brexit.

The policy allowed Brits to live and work in the 27 EU member states – granting equivalent rights for citizens of those countries here.

Perhaps unsurprisingly for someone who supported Remain in the referendum, Keir Starmer said in his 2020 campaign to become Labour leader “we have to make the case for the benefits of migration; for the benefits of free movement”.

Asked at the time whether that would mean arguing for free movement to be reinstated after Brexit, he said “of course, bring back, argue for, challenge”.

And the “Ten Pledges” he set out in that leadership campaign included a promise to “defend free movement as we leave the EU”.

But in 2022, Mr Starmer ruled out a return to free movement if he becomes prime minister. And just this year, Labour rejected an offer from the EU to make it easier for young adults under 30 to work in a member state. The party told journalists there would be “no return to the single market, customs union or free movement” under Labour.

Tuition fees

Keir Starmer’s 2020 leadership campaign also included a pledge to “support the abolition of tuition fees” for university students in England.

But as FactCheck reported last year, he’s since said he wants Labour to “move on” from the plan. He also said the current system is “unfair” and “doesn’t really work” for students or universities”. But, he said, “we are likely to move on from that commitment because we do find ourselves in a different financial situation.”

He’s since gone further, and now admits that tuition fee abolition won’t happen under a future Labour government. Mr Starmer says he was forced to choose between funding this pledge or putting more cash into the NHS.

£28bn for the Green Prosperity Fund

In 2021, Keir Starmer’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves announced “an additional £28bn of capital investment in our country’s green transition for each and every year of this decade”.

The pledge was watered down in June last year, when Ms Reeves said the money would not be spent straightaway. And in February this year, Keir Starmer dropped the £28bn pledge altogether.

Though Labour says it will stick to other green policies – including a promise to generate all UK electricity without additional greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

A Labour spokesperson told FactCheck: “The Conservatives crashed the economy meaning an incoming Labour government would have to make tough decisions. But unlike Rishi Sunak, we have looked the public in the eye and been honest about what we can deliver.

“The next Labour government will deliver economic stability with tough spending rules, so we can grow our economy and keep taxes, inflation and mortgages as low as possible.”

You can read our FactCheck on three promises Rishi Sunak has broken here.

(Photo credit: Marcin Nowak/LNP/Shutterstock)