Brexit Backtrack: Tony Blair Calls on Labour Party to ‘Reset’ UK Relations with EU After General Election

Tony Blair (left) speaks with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer during the Tony Blair Institu
Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has called upon the left-wing Labour Party to “reset” relations with the European Union if they win the next general election.

Tony Blair, who led the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007, urged current leader Sir Keir Starmer to seek closer trading and political ties with Brussels if he ascends to Downing Street, as all polling suggests.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, the former prime minister said that the UK is not participating enough with “the big political union on our own continent” adding that “it would be wise to reset it”.

Blair, a longtime opponent of Brexit and a supporter of the EU globalist project, added: “There are too many things that affect us that are going on in Europe. In any event, we’ve got a trade negotiation coming up in 2025.

“At the moment we’re outside the big political union on our own continent and we’ve got a disrupted trading relationship with our biggest trading partner, so you’ve got to fix this stuff.”

Since leaving office amid low approval ratings over his move to involve the UK in the Iraq War, Blair has recast himself as a globalist influencer, such as playing a key role in the global response to the Chinese coronavirus. During the crisis, his think tank, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, repurposed itself to focus solely on the virus, dispatching teams to “embed” themselves in governments worldwide.

With the Labour Party — which has spent over a decade on the opposition benches in Parliament following the downfall of his successor Gordon Brown — widely expected to deliver a historic defeat to the governing Conservative Party of Rishi Sunak, there is growing speculation about the potential role Blair may play in a Labour government.

According to the Times, Blair already has his tentacles deep within Starmer’s shadow cabinet, with former Blair special advisor and now shadow science secretary Peter Kyle and shadow health secretary Wes Streeting being said to “act as Blair’s emissaries around the shadow cabinet table.”

“It is now widely acknowledged that, alongside the centre-left campaign group Labour Together and the left-leaning Resolution Foundation think tank, the TBI is likely to be a highly influential voice under a Labour government,” the paper noted.

While Sir Keir Starmer has attempted to moderate his own and his party’s political platform along Blairite lines and away from the leftist lurch under his socialist predecessor Jeremy Corbyn, political realities may keep Starmer from backtracking on Brexit, at least not completely.

Support from the ‘Red Wall’, constituencies in the North and Midlands of England that traditionally voted Labour but backed Boris Johnson’s Tories in the 2019 general election to “get Brexit done”, will be key to Labour securing victory in the next general election, which is expected to be held sometime this autumn.

Therefore, Starmer and Labour will need to play a tightrope act between appeasing their metropolitan elite base in cities like London who favour the EU while not turning off working-class Red Wall voters who supported Brexit and are now being disaffected by the Tories over mass migration.

Starmer has repeatedly ruled out seeking to rejoin the EU or the Single Market and just last week said that he would not support a proposed “youth mobility” agreement from the European Union, as it would lead towards a return of the free movement of people between the bloc and Britain.

The Labour leader has said that he will merely seek to craft a better trade deal with the European Union than the one negotiated under Boris Johnson, however, given that Brussels would likely demand that Britain once again adopt EU standards on food and other items, it is unclear how feasible such a deal will be.

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