Leave-supporting Labour MPs have warned party leader Jeremy Corbyn it would be “playing with fire” for him to back plans by Tony Blair to sabotage Brexit.
The intervention comes as Labour, which promised a clean break from the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union before the general election, officially goes back on its word to back staying in “a” customs union with the bloc.
Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey told Radio 4’s World at One that Blair’s assertion that there is a “strong case” for a second European Union referendum is “nonsense”.
She said: “I think there’s a lot of people — and Tony Blair represents a lot of those people — who really campaigned so hard to stay in, lost the vote, and now see that their only way of changing things is to either have a Brexit that is in name only, so we leave but we have not really left, or try and get [another] referendum.
“People voted to leave and leaving means getting back the control and not having the European Court of Justice telling us how to run our country.”
The Labour Brexiteer was speaking after an appearance by Mr Blair on the BBC show, where he stated that the debate over Britain’s exit from Europe should not end on “one day in June 2016”.
Tony Blair at Davos: Brits Will Reject Brexit Because UK ‘Needs’ EU Migrants https://t.co/5iQEwu80uH
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 24, 2018
The globalist ex-prime minister had claimed that putting Brexit to a second vote is the key to solving disagreement in parliament over what Britain’s relationship with Europe should be after it leaves the EU.
Stating it is “increasingly” likely there won’t be a majority of MPs in favour of adopting “any particular type of Brexit”, Mr Blair said: “At that point, the sensible thing – since this whole Brexit business originated from the referendum in June 2016 — is to say it’s got to go back to the people to decide.
“Do they want what is on offer from the Government now as opposed to what we have now in the EU?”
Appearing on the Andrew Marr Show Sunday, shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer indicated that Labour has changed its position on remaining in “a” customs union with the bloc, and could back the Tory rebels’ Trade Bill amendment to defeat the government.
Tony Blair has confirmed that he is actively working to overturn the Brexit vote, claiming “the will of the people is not something immutable”. https://t.co/citkEM1UgB
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 4, 2017
But a number of voices within the party have warned that the move — which would prevent Britain from making its own trade deals with countries outside the EU — will alienate working-class voters who back Brexit.
Commenting on reports that Mr Corbyn has changed his position on staying in the Customs Union, Birkenhead MP Frank Field said: “This is not what people voted for and it is playing with fire. We will lose northern seats if this happens. [Voters] know when they are being messed around.
“There was a referendum and referendums are senior to elections. We surrendered power to them to instruct us and they have instructed us. I think he ought to spell out how he is supporting the referendum result.”
Ms Hoey, a former Labour minister, told the Telegraph: “I hope Jeremy will remember that in the last election our manifesto commitments on the EU helped ensure that many ex-Labour voters who had gone to UKIP came back to us on the understanding that he was committed to leaving the EU and not leaving in name only, which is what any form of customs union with the EU would mean.”