Former PM Blair Calls For "Reformed Europe", Criticizes Current Labour Leadership

Marco Green
July 16, 2017

European Union leaders would accept tightening up immigration rules to accommodate Britain, so the option of the United Kingdom staying in the bloc should remain open, former prime minister Tony Blair said on Saturday.

Europe has a number of new leaders, including France's centrist President Emmanuel Macron. "The opposition to free movement of people, once you break it down, is much more nuanced".

Tony Blair has warned that the combination of Brexit followed by a Jeremy Corbyn government would soon leave Britain "flat on our back", arguing that a deeply divided country needs a fundamental rethink of its political ideas.

"I think it's absolutely necessary that it doesn't happen because I think every day is bringing us fresh evidence that it's doing us damage economically, certainly doing us damage politically".

"By calling for the will of the people and Parliament to be overturned, Tony Blair is demonstrating once again that he is out of touch".

Many Western EU leaders are indeed concerned to limit free movement only to workers - as specified in the EU treaty.

Tony Blair has praised Jeremy Corbyn's performance in the recent United Kingdom election - despite the former prime minister being one of the most prominent critics of the leader of his former party.

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 Europe itself prepared to reform and meet us halfway", Blair, who was prime minister from 1997 to 2007, wrote.

In his lengthy article for his own Institute for Global Change think tank, Mr Blair also slams Jeremy Corbyn for failing to endorse a "soft" Brexit - describing Labour's current opposition to staying in the single market as "essentially the same policy as the Government".

In response, Corbyn told BBC News that the economy would do well under a Labour-led government that focused on raising investment.

"The Corbyn enthusiasm, especially amongst the young, is real, but I would hesitate before saying that all those who voted Labour voted to make him Prime Minister".

In a further sign of the former PM's efforts to block Brexit, the arch-Europhile today reveals he has held talks with European Union leaders about how Britain could stay "within a reformed Europe".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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