Tony Blair calls for people to ‘rise up’ against Brexit
I always thought Blair was a nut job. Tony Blair has said it is his “mission” to persuade Britons to “rise up” and change their minds on Brexit. What doesn’t he understand? The people have spoken.
Speaking in the City of London, the former prime minister claimed that people voted in the referendum “without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit”.
He urged “a way out from the present rush over the cliff’s edge”.
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said the comments were arrogant and undemocratic but Lib Dem Nick Clegg said he “agreed with every word”.
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage said Mr Blair was “yesterday’s man” while Downing Street said it was “absolutely committed” to seeing Brexit through.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson added: “I urge the British people to rise up and turn off the TV next time Blair comes on with his condescending campaign.”
Amazing how these elite, are still resisting the will of the people.
Blair, who was UK prime minister between 1997 and 2007, used the speech to the pro-European campaign group Open Britain to argue that leaving the EU would be “painful” for Britain and Europe and the benefits would be “largely illusory”.
Blair, who campaigned to remain in the EU, said that while he accepted that people voted to leave by 52% to 48%, he would recommend looking again at Brexit when “we have a clear sense of where we’re going”.
Pressed on whether he thought there should be a second referendum, he said: “All I’m saying is a very, very simple thing, that this is the beginning of the debate – that if a significant part of that 52% show real change of mind, however you measure it, we should have the opportunity to reconsider this decision.
“Whether you do it through another referendum or another method, that’s a second order question.
“But this issue is the single most important decision this country has taken since the Second World War and debate can’t now be shut down about it.”
Brexiteer MPs were unsurprisingly excoriating, with the foreign secretary hinting at what Mr Blair’s opponents see as his toxicity after the Iraq war.
But importantly the former PM’s speech raises a tactical question for Remainer MPs wondering what to do next: fight for Brexit on their terms or fight Brexit itself.
While he fully accepted immigration was “a substantial issue”, he said it had become the “primary consideration” for the government and suggested the public were more concerned about arrivals from outside the EU.
Mr Blair has faced criticism in the past for his government’s decision to allow people from Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to work in Britain without restrictions, while most EU states imposed transitional controls to slow the rate of migration.
Alan Johnson, who led Labour’s campaign to keep Britain in the EU – urged people to listen to the message, not the messenger. Stressing he would not rule out a second referendum, Mr Johnson said people are concerned that Britain could end up as a “low tax, anything goes, race-to-the-bottom kind of country” post Brexit.
Supporters of leaving the EU argue it will free up the UK to trade better globally and give the government better control of immigration.
Earlier this month, MPs overwhelmingly agreed, by 494 votes to 122, to let the government begin the UK’s departure from the EU by voting for the Brexit bill.
The Commons vote prompted splits in the Labour party. Despite calls by leader Jeremy Corbyn for his party to back the government, 52 MPs rebelled.
Lib Dem attempts to amend the bill to include a provision for another referendum were defeated by 340 votes to 33.