Sunday 11 December 2016

Brexit can be blocked by voters, insists Blair

Laura Hughes in London

Published 25/11/2016 | 02:30

Tony Blair
Tony Blair

Britain's exit from the EU could be blocked, Tony Blair has said, as he ruled out a return to frontline politics because there is "too much hostility" towards him.

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The former British prime minister said he had been accused of "treason" for suggesting that Britain keep its "options open" over Brexit.

But he insisted that voters had a right to decide they want to stay in the EU after "scrutinising" Theresa May's final deal with European leaders.

He also confessed he could have held a referendum when he was in power, but he probably would have lost it.

Last month, Mr Blair told Remain voters "we're the insurgents now" and said Britain should keep its "options open" over holding a second referendum.

He has indicated that he is preparing to return to British politics to prevent the "tragedy" of Britain becoming a "one-party state".

In an interview with the 'New Statesman', he revealed he feels he cannot return to frontline politics because parts of the media would "move to destroy mode".

Instead he said he was so "dismayed" by the current state of Western politics that he intended to build a platform to help the "millions of politically homeless people" in Britain.

Mr Blair's comments came as Ukip acting leader Nigel Farage predicted a political earthquake in Britain if Theresa May failed to leave the European Union before the 2020 general election.

The pro-Brexit leader said there would be a "seismic shock" if Brexit is delayed.

He complained at a party at London's Ritz hotel that Britain is lagging behind the United States in changing its political leadership despite the June 23 referendum vote in favour of taking Britain out of the 28-nation EU bloc.

America had had a total revolution, he said, while Britain had kept the same elite in power.

"In this country, the people have spoken, but the same players have just been shuffled around the chess board and we are still being run by the career professional political class," Mr Farage said at the gathering, called by supporters to pay tribute to his role in winning the Brexit referendum after years of campaigning against EU bureaucracy.

Mr Blair, meanwhile, compared June's referendum result to agreeing to a house swap "without having seen the other house" and insisted that Brexit could be stopped once voters are able to evaluate its "consequences".

Irish Independent

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