Frantic Blair Says: ‘Don’t Mix up Election with Brexit’, After Labour Defied His Calls to Block Vote

Former British prime minister Tony Blair gives a speech at the Institute for Government in central London, Monday Sept. 2, 2019. Tony Blair warned that politicians face a critical juncture in history as they prepare to consider legislation meant to prevent the country from leaving the European Union without a …
Aaron Chown/Pool via AP

Hardline Remainer Tony Blair has said that Labour should never have agreed to a snap election, and he refused to back party leader Jeremy Corbyn as the next occupant of Number 10.

Speaking to Channel 4 News’s Matt Frei on Wednesday, the former Labour prime minister said his party voting for a December 12th election was “an act of extraordinary stupidity”.

“I think it’s profoundly adverse to the interests of the country. There’s nothing wrong with having a General Election. Have a General Election, but don’t mix it up with Brexit,” Mr Blair said.

The globalist-progressive politician, who took Labour in a centrist direction during his 13-year leadership, had told the current party leader last month to reject calls for an election. He had said that “some may fear a Corbyn premiership more” than Brexit and an election would result in a “comfortable Tory majority”. Other Blairites in the party also pressured Corbyn to reject an election and attempt to force a second referendum, instead.

The Remainer-dominated Parliament has hamstrung Prime Minister Boris Johnson and is blocking his endeavours to deliver Brexit. Mr Johnson had tried three times to trigger an election to regain a majority in government that would make good on the people’s June 2016 instruction to take the UK out of the EU. On the fourth attempt last night, Labour finally backed the Bill.

Remainers desperate to elect an anti-Brexit government even tried — and failed — to pass amendments to extend the voting franchise to 16- and 17-year-old children and EU immigrants.

Speaking to Channel 4, Mr Blair accused his own party of letting Boris Johnson “out of the box” to run a campaign that would pit a Conservative prime minister determined to deliver Brexit against socialist Jeremy Corbyn.

There is no love lost between Mr Blair and Mr Corbyn, who took the party Blair had moulded into a model of third-way politics to the far-left. Blair has criticised the Labour Party for failing to adequately fight to stop Brexit and blamed Corbyn for making a no-deal exit a possibility.

The former prime minister maintains that the party’s priority should be to push for a second referendum to undo Brexit. However, he did say earlier in the week that the two votes — another referendum and a General Election — could even be held on the same day.

Asked whether he thought the only way to force a second referendum was to have Jeremy Corbyn in government, Mr Blair refused to back his party’s leader.

“It’s about having enough Members of Parliament in Parliament who are committed to doing that,” he said.

Mr Blair avoided backing Mr Corbyn a further three times during the interview, and suggested that his own party may not want him to campaign for them.

Splits between the Corbynites and Blairites within Labour have been mirrored in divisions between the formerly much-vaunted People’s Vote campaign, which sought to push a second referendum and overturn Brexit.

The Guardian described the People’s Vote as having “imploded” this week after two of its senior executives were fired, and dozens of staff staged a walkout. Sources told the newspaper that while it was difficult to ascertain whether the collapse is down to a power struggle, they admitted that there are also ideological divides within the group over the future Remain campaign.

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