‘Still possible to stop Brexit’ says Blair

Tony Blair says the British have the right to change their mind over Brexit

‘It is still possible to stop Brexit’, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has told Le Figaro.

In an interview published today, Mr Blair says he hopes that when British MPs come to vote on the Brexit deal they decide to reject it and stay in the EU.

He says: “I am trying hard to convince the Labour Party to take a strong line against Brexit and I have the impression it’s moving in that direction – we will see if certain Conservatives are ready to choose their country rather than their party.”

He adds: “I’m going to be as active as possible on this issue, which I really take to heart. My country has the right to change its mind and I want to fight for that.

“As the cost and difficulty of Brexit appear more clearly and new facts come to light it’s very likely that the feelings of the British citizens about Brexit will change and once the negotiations with Brussels have concluded, whatever the deal obtained by the government, we must demand to have a say on it.

“For example one of the main arguments of the Leave campaign was that there would be more money for the NHS by leaving Europe. But it’s clear now that there will be a hefty bill for Brexit and there will be less money for the NHS.

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“People are also starting to realise that coming out of the single market and customs union will be very painful. It’s a reversal of 40 years of integration and of freeing up trade.

“It should be said in passing that the single market was a great – British – idea. The irony is that the single market and enlargement of the union, which fuelled the vote in favour of Brexit, were the two main European objectives pursued for years by Labour and Conservative governments.

"I persist in believing that it’s still possible to stop Brexit, even if the probability is less than 50%.”

Mr Blair adds that he believes Brexit is also bad for the EU.

“We don’t realise how fast the world is changing. Even if I don’t see it as a threat, China, whether we want it or not, will dominate the 21st century. Then there’s the challenge of radical Islam and that of the profound transformations of the digital revolution. Faced with these factors we need Europe to be strong and to think that it will do better if a country isolates itself is folly.

“I was a fervent supporter of a Europe of defence, which is more necessary than ever, and it is hard to imagine it without the UK.”

This comes as EU lead negotiator Michel Barnier also spoke on Europe’s defence role at a meeting in Berlin this week, saying there were ‘unprecedented efforts’ under way to develop a ‘Defence and Security Union’, but that it would “have to be developed without the British” since the UK was set to be entirely outside the EU and its single market from March 30, 2019.

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