Sunday 20 August 2017

UK will want to rejoin EU, says Blair

Ex-prime minister Tony Blair says UK will want to rejoin EU. Photo: PA
Ex-prime minister Tony Blair says UK will want to rejoin EU. Photo: PA

Shaun Connolly

Britain will want to rejoin the European Union at some point in the future, Tony Blair has predicted.

The former British prime minister said last year's vote for Brexit - which he strongly opposed - had given him the impetus to become involved in politics again. While he made clear that he was not planning a return to parliament, he said that he wanted to help shape the policy debate.

"This Brexit thing has given me a direct motivation to get more involved in the politics. You need to get your hands dirty and I will," he said in an interview to mark the 20th anniversary of his 1997 general election triumph. "I am going to be taking an active part in trying to shape the policy debate and that means getting out and reconnecting.

"I don't want to be in the situation where we pass through this moment of history and I hadn't said anything because that would mean I didn't care about this country. I do."

Mr Blair warned that Britain would be worse off outside the EU and suggested the country may eventually wish to return.

"The single market put us in the Champions League of trading agreements. A free trade agreement is like League One. We are relegating ourselves," he said. "My prediction is it may take another generation but at some point we will want to be back in the EU."

Irish Independent

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