Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is to invest £9.3 million of proceeds from his lobbying business in a new institute that he is setting up to fight populism.
Mr Blair said last month he was creating the Tony Blair Institute (TBI) aimed at combatting populism and “making globalisation work”. On Wednesday, he confirmed he given £9.26 million net assets of his company Windrush Ventures limited to the new institute, The Times reports.
He has attracted criticism since stepping down as Prime Minister for advising controversial clients, including the governments of Colombia and Mongolia, and the autocratic President of Kazakhstan, who was re-elected in 2015 with 98 per cent of the vote.
He also had a £41,000 deal to advise PetroSaudi, leaked papers revealed.
Mr Blair said last month the TBI would be a “platform” offering “thought leadership” on anti-populist, pro-globalisation policies.
He added it would “build a new policy agenda” for what he called the “centre ground” of politics, as well as allowing “a reasonable and evidence based discussion of the future which avoids the plague of social media-led exchanges of abuse.”
In terms of actual policies, he hinted it would champion the continuation and strengthening of the European project, and also open borders.
“Part of its focus will plainly be around the European debate; but this will not be its exclusive domain.
“It has to go far wider than that since in many ways the Europe debate is a lightning rod for the whole of politics.”
Mr Blair has said several times that Britain should consider holding a second referendum on Brexit, just in case the public change their minds and want to remain in the European Union.
In October, he said: “If it becomes clear that this is either a deal that doesn’t make it worth our while leaving, or a deal that is so serious in its implications that people may decide they don’t want to go, there’s got to be some way, either through parliament, through an election, possibly through a referendum, in which people express their view.”