Former British PM Tony Blair renews argument against a 'hard' Brexit'

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 16, 2017

Blair said political changes on the continent, including the election of Emmanuel Macron in France, have made an alternative to a hard Brexit more likely.

He said the result of the referendum had to be respected and that what most "ordinary people" now wanted was a Brexit that would protect the economy and their jobs. "The majority of MPs, including Blair's own Labour party, voted to trigger article 50", he said.

In a further sign of the former PM's efforts to block Brexit, the arch-Europhile today reveals he has held talks with European Union leaders about how Britain could stay "within a reformed Europe".

"This time previous year we were the fastest growing economy in the G7, we're now the slowest". If we make a hash of it, our prosperity and our status in the world will be permanently downgraded, and we will have much less money to spend on priorities like the NHS.

Mr McDonnell added: "To be frank, Mr Blair hasn't really listened to the nature of the debate that is going on in the pubs, the clubs and school gates etc".

Former British prime minister Tony Blair speaks to media reporters after making a presentation on countering violent extremism through education during an open sessin of the United Nations Security Council Committee on Counter-Terrorism, at the UN headquarters in NY, on November 21, 2013.

Blair also told Sky News that "every day is bringing us fresh evidence" of Brexit's harm to Britain, with economic growth slowing and the value of the pound down sharply since the referendum.

The criticism that Mr Blair was out of step with the public was echoed by Robin Walker, a Brexit minister, who said: "The majority of British people voted to leave the EU".

Mr Blair argued: "If a right wing populist punch in the form of Brexit was followed by a left wing populist punch in the form of unreconstructed hard left economics, Britain would hit the canvas, flat on our back and be out for a long count".

"The Labour party should be cautious in thinking "one more heave" will deliver victory next time".

On Brexit, Mr Blair said: "If Labour continues to be for leaving the single market, and the signs are that it will, then we are essentially for the same policy as the Government".

"The Corbyn campaign was a positive factor in the election result; but the determining factor was the Tory campaign".

The ex-Labour premier, who was once tipped to become president of the European Council, expressed his belief Brexit voters could be changing their minds due to the performance of the United Kingdom economy. What we don't want is to have divisions in the country again. "That is what we need now".

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