European Union could be flexible over movement: Tony Blair

Elias Hubbard
July 16, 2017

In an essay published on the organisation's website on Saturday, Mr Blair claimed European leaders would be willing to tighten up the free movement of people as a way to avoid Britain leaving the EU.

In a lengthy article he says they are "willing to consider changes to accommodate Britain, including around freedom of movement". On freedom of movement, the principle is indivisible.

The freedom of movement within the European Union and this makes it impossible for the Uk to control immigration have been one of the central motivations for the vote of the British in favour of an exit from the European Union in the referendum of June 23, 2016.

The EU has previously said that Britain can not enjoy the benefits of free trade with the other 27 member states without accepting the principles of free movement, which make it easier for EU citizens to work and travel within the trading bloc.

But, making a fresh intervention into the debate over Britain's future relationship with the EU, Mr Blair told Sky News' Sophy Ridge: "I think it's possible now that Brexit doesn't happen".

"I pay tribute to Jeremy Corbyn's temperament in the campaign, to the campaign's mobilization of younger voters and to the enthusiasm it generated", Blair, normally a Corbyn critic, said.

"Our savings ratio is at the lowest for 50 years, the investment community internationally has now gone really negative on us, our currency's down 10-12%, investment in the motor auto industry, for example, is down 30%, living standards are stagnating".

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Jeremy Corbyn
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Jeremy Corbyn"I hope he has looked very carefully at our manifesto

He said leaving the single market was a "damaging position" shared by Labour and he urged the party's leadership to champion a "radically distinct" position on Europe.

"Rational consideration of the options would sensibly include the option of negotiating for Britain to stay within a..."

Blair praised the current leader of the Labour Party, left-winger Jeremy Corbyn, for mobilising young voters in last month's general election in which May lost her majority in parliament.

But the ex-premier issued a caution about the risks of an unchanged Corbyn programme for the UK.

He wrote: If a right-wing populist punch in the form of Brexit was followed by a left-wing populist punch in the form of unreconstructed hard-left economics, Britain would hit the canvas, flat on our back and be out for a long count.

Corbyn rejected this. "I think our economy will do very well under a Labour-led government because it will be an investment-led economy that works for all", he told BBC News.

Blair served as British prime minister for 10 years from 1997, winning a landslide victory that kept the Labour government in power for years.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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