The Liberal Democrats have "nothing to say" for those who voted in favour of leaving the European Union, the Labour Party's shadow Brexit minister has said.

MP Keir Starmer, appearing on BBC's The Andrew Marr Show, said the country was more divided than ever after the Brexit vote, and criticised political parties for only representing one side of the country.

It comes after the Lib Dems candidate Sarah Olney swept away Zak Goldsmith of the Conservative Party in the Richmond by-election – a result which was seen as a protest against the Tories' Brexit strategy.

However, the Lib Dems – with its firmly pro-Europe approach – is also considered a threat to Labour, in constituencies where the party's voters wanted to remain in the European Union.

But Starmer, the MP for Holborn and St Pancras in London, claimed the Lib Dems could not lead the country with its pro-EU approach.

He said: "What we are seeing is a country more divided than we have ever seen it – more than I can ever remember.

"The Tories and Ukip are only speaking to a group within the 52%. They are building a future around that group and understandably, the 48% – you can feel it across the country – feel they are being written out of their own history.

"The Lib Dems have then taken the opportunity to speak to the 48%, but they've got nothing to say to the 52%.

"Now Labour, we have members, we have voters and we have MPs that are in both camps and we have to bring this country back together. We cannot build on this divide nor should we try to.

"Somebody, somehow has to bring this country back together. Labour can do that by understanding the core reasons that Brexit happened."

He added that whatever side of the EU referendum vote people were on, the outcome must be respected. But ghe argued against "hard" Brexit – where Britain would give up full access to the single market.

He also tried to tackle the threat that Ukip posed to its party in their traditional working-class heartlands.

"Ukip is the party that says we should crash out of Brexit (sic) without even negotiating the best position," Starmer said.

"Now, I've been in the North this week and last week – there are companies there, there are communities there that will go to the wall if that happens.

"So I'd like them [Ukip] to go and take that message to ordinary people in the North saying, 'We want to take you out and crash your jobs.'"