Blair Blames Corbyn for Making No Deal Brexit Possible

Britain's main opposition Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn gestures after delivering a speech on stage moments after hearing to the news that the Supreme Court had ruled against the government and that the suspension of the UK parliament was 'unlawful', on stage during the annual Labour Party conference in Brighton, …
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

Tony Blair has blamed weak leadership in the Labour Party for making a clean-break Brexit a possibility.

“To be very frank, if you had a really strong opposition, I don’t think the Government would for a single moment contemplate a no-deal Brexit,” the former Labour prime minister and Remain campaigner said.

While not mentioning Mr Corbyn by name, Mr Blair, who took Labour in a progressive-globalist direction for a decade under his leadership, criticised the socialist for turning the party into “hostile territory for centrists”.

“And my worry, quite apart from all the other things, is at the moment, the leadership of the Labour Party is essentially a protest leadership and it is not a governing leadership.

“If you want to govern you’ve got to have that governing attitude,” Mr Blair said during a Reform Scotland event in comments reported by the Evening Standard.

Recent meetings with leaders of the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP), the Liberal Democrats, and other anti-Brexit parties have revealed Labour’s perceived ineptitude in leading a Remain Rebellion. Notably, cross-party talks have failed over leaders’ unwillingness to accept Mr Corbyn as the interim prime minister of a proposed caretaker government.

Jeremy Corbyn met with the SNP’s Ian Blackford, Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, the Greens’ Caroline Lucas, Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts, and Anna Soubry of the Independent Group for Change on Monday to discuss an emergency motion to take over the House of Commons and strengthen efforts against a clean-break Brexit.

However, the other parties reportedly objected to making Corbyn the caretaker prime minister, blaming the socialist for getting in the way of stopping no-deal.

One Liberal Democrat source told the Metro: “The position Jeremy Corbyn is taking is that we can have an emergency Government, but only if he gets to lead it.

“They know they don’t have the numbers, but they are insistent they won’t work with anyone else.

“Their total unwillingness to work with anyone else makes the Labour Party the biggest barrier to stopping no-deal.”

Last month, Blair articulated his lack of confidence in Corbyn’s prospects to be the next prime minister when he urged him to block a snap election. Remarking that voters may “fear” a Corbyn government, he said: “The opposition vote is going to split and under our system, that delivers a comfortable Tory majority.”

As well as failing to join the leftist parties under one Remain roof, Labour is also failing to articulate clearly its position on Brexit. A ComRes poll revealed 66 per cent of Britons agreed that “Labour’s Brexit policy is a mystery to me”. By party, that breaks down to 78 per cent of Leave voters, 59 per cent of Remain voters, and even nearly half — 47 per cent — of Labour voters.

A recent ComRes poll puts the Conservatives in the lead with 33 per cent of the vote, a comfortable 16 points ahead of Labour. Labour’s confusing position on Brexit could also cost them votes. Corbyn’s party has isolated its core working-class Leave voters by reneging on its pledge to respect the 2016 vote by backing a second referendum. However, some in the party want Labour to go farther left, joining the Liberal Democrats in supporting the cancellation Brexit altogether.

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