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Britain could hold second EU vote, says ex-PM Blair


Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair PHOTO: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair PHOTO: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

Britain’s former prime minister Tony Blair said Friday there was nothing preventing a second Brexit referendum and warned that the break-up would be “very, very tough” as European leaders were in an unforgiving mood.

He called on fellow “Remain” supporters to “mobilise and to organise” against proponents of Brexit, writing in The New European newspaper that “we’re the insurgents now”.

“There is absolutely no reason why we should close off any options,” he later told BBC radio.

“We are entitled to carry on scrutinising, and, yes, if necessary, to change our minds. This is not about an elite overruling the people.

“If it becomes clear that this is either a deal that doesn’t make it worth our while leaving; or, alternatively, a deal that is going to be so serious in its implications that people decide they don’t want to go, there’s got to be some way, either through parliament, or through an election; possibly through another referendum,” he added.

Blair, who was prime minister from 1997 to 2007, called Brexit as “catastrophe”, and revealed that he had recently held talks with French President Francois Hollande that had highlighted the challenges Britain faces in upcoming negotiations to set the terms of the break-up.

“It convinced me that it’s going to be very, very tough,” he said in The New European.

“We are not going to be conducting this negotiation with a group of European businessmen who may well decide that what they want is the maximum access into the UK, and they may be prepared to be quite forgiving.

“The people we will be conducting this negotiation with will be the political leaders of the European Union, and their parliaments, so this is going to be a negotiation, in my view, of enormous complexity.”

He said that Britain would either have to accept obligations in return for access to the single market of face “severe” economic consequences.

Conservative MP Maria Caulfield, a member of parliament’s Brexit scrutiny committee, said Blair was partly responsible for Brexit by encouraging “uncontrolled immigration” while prime minister and that he was now unable to “come to terms with the decision of the people of the UK”.

“Instead of desperately trying to find ways to thwart the will of voters and talking down Britain’s prospects, Labour should be concentrating on helping to make a success of Brexit,” she added.

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1 Comment
  • robertsonjames

    The man’s simply unspoofable as well as insufferable.

    Relevantly as far as the Brexit vote is concerned Blair was the one who gave us several million immigrants from inside and outside the EU without the electorate’s permission (in the former case having dishonestly insisted to the people that just a few thousand would come), told the voters to glory in “diversity” and that anyone who objected to enforced multi-culturalism was “racist” as their communities, their way of life and their economic positions were utterly transformed against their will, enthusiastically gave away a chunk of our hard-won rebate in return for a vacuous promise by France, never plausibly deliverable never mind actually delivered, that the CAP would be seriously reformed, and to put the tin lid on it pioneered a cynical strategy of using repeated insincere promises of EU-related referenda in election manifestos in 1997 and 2001 and again in 2005 that he and his party clearly never had any intention of ever implementing lest the British people should end up making the “wrong” decision against the wishes of the liberal elite.

    And then he has the sheer brass neck to suggest that another party actually honouring its manifesto commitment to deliver an EU referendum was unreasonable, that the public’s resulting mutinous judgment on EU integration had nothing to do with him and that the people’s rejection of patronising instruction from a totally-discredited political and media establishment was no reflection on his decade of misrule during which there was so much spin and deceit about everything from party funding to imminent military threats to this country that most voters now automatically assume that when much of the political class stand together to tell them something they must obviously be lying.

    The only place anywhere in the EU that creature should be seen in future is in handcuffs in the dock at The Hague.