Blair Backs May, Says She Should Stay on After Brexit Defeated

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair takes part in a Q&A during the 'UK In A Changing Europe Conference' at the QEII Centre on March 29, 2018 in London, England. After holding a referendum, in June 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European …
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Tony Blair has said Theresa May should continue as Prime Minister if her Brexit deal is voted down by Parliament, urging Tory MPs to block the UK’s Exit from the European Union (EU).

The former Prime Minister attempted to persuade prospective Tory rebels that if they and other MPs reject Mrs. May’s negotiated deal, their party would not be ousted if they called a second referendum.

Speaking at a ‘UK in a Changing Europe’ event reported by The Guardian, the former Labour premier said: “If she is defeated in the Commons she does not need to resign and there does not be an election.

“She can simply say: ‘OK, I put the deal before parliament; they rejected it. Now it is right the people have the vote and the final say.’

“It is perfectly rational. The country took a decision to leave the EU. The government was mandated to negotiate the deal. It has now negotiated the deal and let us decide whether we like the deal.”

He then claimed the Tories could, in fact, do better in the 2022 general election if MPs rejected Mrs. May’s Brexit deal, as they would not “own” the deal and could not be blamed for any shortcomings.

“I think the Conservatives need to understand, that if they drive through this Breixt deal, that is going to be the gateway to a Corbyn government,” he said.

Earlier in the day, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, exactly one year before the UK leaves the bloc, he insisted it is not too late to bloc Brexit.

In fact, Mr. Blair said, it was “more likely… than a few months ago” that the democratic will on the people could now be stopped.

He argued that the “sensible” option was to make the public vote again on Brexit and “take a final decision”, despite voters being told the last vote was “final”.

He added: “I always say to people the likelihood is it happens, but it doesn’t have to happen, and the first place that’s going to decide it is Parliament and MPs should vote according to their conscience.”

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