Tony Blair urges cross-party election push to stop Tory 'hard Brexit'
In an article for the Evening Standard, Tony Blair conceded the Tories are on course for a clear and convincing majority.
“There are many great Labour candidates and MPs and I will be fully supportive of them. But the fact is that if the polls are right, Theresa May will be PM on June 9 with a large majority.”
“But with what mandate? The British people have to navigate a way through not just choosing a government but working out what they want the governing mandate to be.”
However, he argued that the public could still use the general election to limit the Conservatives’ power to take the UK out of the European Union by demanding their local candidates clearly state their position on terms of the Brexit.
“Insofar as this election is about Brexit, there is one question that should dominate every interview, course through every husting, enlighten every debate — a question for the PM and for every other candidate.”
“It is: would you still go ahead with Brexit, even if the deal did not deliver substantially the same access to the single market and customs union we have now or was one that carried long-term risks to our economy or there was no deal?
“In other words, are there any circumstances in which having looked at the “best deal” we can get, we conclude that it isn’t good enough for Britain?,” Blair stated.
The former PM also called on pro-EU NGOs to put additional pressure on candidates to explicitly state their Brexit position in order to make sure that the British public can make an informed choice during this election.
“We need to add a new dimension to this election, a movement of informed voters who can ensure that a re-elected Tory party cannot claim a mandate for Brexit at any cost.
“I propose that the organisations that want to keep open the right of people to change their minds on Brexit, … come together to mobilise voters to demand from candidates a clear statement of their position on Brexit,” the article stated.
Blair suggested a significant portion of British voters are still undecided on the issue of the UK leaving the EU.
“There are several organisations, each with a contact base of more than 200,000 people and one with more than 500,000.
“Would-be MPs need to know that for significant numbers of their constituents an open mind on Brexit counts,” Blair added.
The call comes after Antonio Tajani, the President of the EU Parliament, suggested that the EU would welcome Britain back into the fold, if the UK Government decides to abandon Brexit after the election.
“If the UK, after the election, wants to withdraw [article 50], then the procedure is very clear,” he said in an interview. “If the UK wanted to stay, everybody would be in favour. I would be very happy”, Tajani told the Guardian.