Arch-Remainer Tony Blair Bid for EU Cash While Campaigning Against Brexit

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 06: Former Prime Minster Tony Blair speaks at a "Vote for a Final Say" rally about Brexit and the upcoming general election on December 6, 2019 in London, England. Former Prime ministers Tony Blair and John Major were joined by other political figures including Michael Heseltine, …
Getty Images

Former British Prime Minister and key mover of the anti-Brexit remain movement Tony Blair held talks with the European Commission about receiving funding for his personal institute while campaigning to frustrate the Brexit process at home.

Iraq war architect Tony Blair had talks with senior EU officials this year over funding for The Tony Blair Institute (TBI) and even discussed moving the body to a European nation to prevent it being cut off from Brussels cash after Brexit, British newspaper the Daily Telegraph has reported.

The paper notes these discussions were ongoing at the same time that Mr Blair was campaigning in Britain to overturn the outcome of the 2016 referendum where the British people voted to leave the European Union by a margin of over a million votes.

Re-running referendums that go against the European Union’s interests is a well-worn tactic, and has been held up as an example of the EU’s authoritarian approach to democracy for years. Among those who have condemned the tactic is Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, who was a frequent critic of the European Union before he was forced to modify his position to lead the party.

Tony Blair has been one of the most persistent campaigners for a second referendum to nullify the first and has said the vote should have been reversible. While Mr Blair has admitted Brexit will now go ahead since the general election this year returned a significant Conservative majority, he has insisted if Labour had followed his lead on pushing to nullify the Brexit referendum, the results could have been very different.

Although campaigning in the European Union’s interest in British domestic politics while tendering for European Union cash could have been seen as a conflict of interest, a spokesman for the TBI quoted by the Telegraph said it was “absurd” to suggest there could be any link. In any case, they further explained, there was no impropriety as the TBI had only been in talks stage and had “not yet” put in a formal application for EU money.

The Telegraph, which received a cache of emails between the TBI and the European Commission, notes the projects the money could have been paid towards would have been international development in countries outside the European Union.

While Mr Blair stood down as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 2007, he has continued to attempt to exert influence over the direction of travel of the country since, becoming particularly active again in the run-up to the 2016 referendum.

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.