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‘Remainer’ Tony Blair warns Britain’s Conservative Party against Labour govt

Blair, who led Labour to three successive election victories since 1997, has been making the case that the British people should be given another referendum on leaving the European Union.

world Updated: Mar 27, 2018 23:49 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Tony Blair,Jeremy Corbyn,Brexit
File photo of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.(Reuters)

Keen to stop Brexit, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is playing on Conservative fears that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn may win the next election, telling them: “Brexit is not the route to escaping a Corbyn government, it is the gateway to having one.”

Blair, who led Labour to three successive election victories since 1997, has been making the case that the British people should be given another referendum on leaving the European Union, now that they are wiser on the debilitating economic cost it would entail.

He also criticised Labour’s policy on Brexit under Corbyn: “Unfortunately, we cannot rely on the Opposition because its leadership believes - whether for reasons of opportunism or covert opposition to the EU – that they must commit to doing Brexit but pretend that they would secure a better Brexit deal.”

Blair mentioned India’s economic rise in the geo-political context in which Britain will find itself after leaving the EU. Alliances, he said, were important to gain strength in the future, and that was the modern case for having the European Union.

“The most alarming characteristic of the Brexiteers is their confusion of delusion and patriotism. To recognise Britain’s position in the global hierarchy of nations and how it is changed over the past 70 years is not to be unpatriotic.

“The world of geo-politics is undergoing a revolution. China will become, if not the dominant power, a power to rival America. By 2030 India’s economy will be bigger than Germany’s, by 2050 several times the size.

“Britain will be medium sized in a land where there are some very tall people and three giants.”

Besides Blair, former Conservative prime minister John Major has also been making the case for another referendum on Brexit. According to him, his party’s government under Theresa May had an “unrealistic” Brexit strategy.

In a strongly-worded speech in February, Major said: “Every one of the Brexit promises is – to quote Henry Fielding – ‘a very wholesome and comfortable doctrine to which (there is) but one objection: namely, that it is not true.

“I know of no precedent for any government enacting a policy that will make both our country and our people poorer. Once that is apparent, the government must change course.”

First Published: Mar 27, 2018 23:12 IST