Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair said “there’s no way out” of the Brexit debate for his successor Theresa May, calling for her to approve a second referendum.
“Once this thing has been started by a referendum it can frankly only be finished by a fresh vote,” Blair said in an interview with AFP. (RELATED: Mays Says No To Request For Second Brexit Referendum)
Blair runs a non-profit — the Institute for Global Change — and uses his former political experience and platform as a way to retain influence in the public sphere.
“I’m passionately opposed to Brexit and I still believe it can be changed,” Blair said, calling May’s plan “mush” and an “incomplete half in-half out” solution, according to AFP.
While Blair criticized the U.K. government’s pending Brexit strategy, he also said he feels immense empathy for May, who has the “least enviable job in Western politics,” reported AFP.
The frustration of the current situation, according to Blair, is that both choices are disappointing and less than ideal. Either Britain fully breaks with the European Union and lets the economic chips fall where they may, or stays on friendly terms with the EU for the sake of trade agreements, but without the benefits of governing solo, according to AFP.
Even former U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in his resignation speech Wednesday that while he wants to see Brexit saved, he is upset that under a “fog of self-doubt” May is willing to give up her “glorious vision” in a clean Brexit where full negotiating power was still in the U.K.’s hands, AFP reported.
“The only way in the end this is going to be resolved is putting it back to the people,” Blair said, AFP reported.
Blair said Parliament will ultimately fumble the whole thing. He suspects it will be voted down in the House of Lords, which is widely in favor of remaining in the EU, and also the House of Commons, which contains both pro-Brexit and pro-EU members, reported The Sun. It seems pro-Brexit politicians with the same passion as Nigel Farage are outnumbered in Parliament. May’s government won a recent parliamentary victory — 307 votes to 301 — on Tuesday against Brexit opposition, according to CNN.
“If there isn’t really a majority for any one form of Brexit, then I do think the case is ever more stronger for going back to their people to allow them a final say on the deal,” Blair said in a February interview with BBC Radio 4.
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