February 25, 2018

Former PM Blair Calls For "Reformed Europe", Criticizes Current Labour Leadership

16 July 2017, 12:02 | Taylor George

EU leaders would be willing to compromise on free movement, says Tony Blair

Tony Blair: Europe willing 'to accommodate Britain'

The former Labour leader also criticised his party's vision of a "jobs first" Brexit outside the single market, calling it a "contradiction in terms", and said he was "dubious" about the idea that it helped win over Remain and Leave voters in the General Election.

The former prime minister said there was no evidence that Britons wanted to pay a high economic price for Brexit, and so, he argues, "A majority would probably coalesce around a "soft" Brexit". "The Labour party should be cautious in thinking "one more heave" will deliver victory next time", Blair said.

The EU could give Britain back some control over immigration in a bid to halt Brexit, according to Tony Blair.

John McDonnell has accused Tony Blair of being out of touch with the "nature of the debate" when it comes to Brexit negotiations.

In the eight-page article, the former prime minister reignited his criticisms of Mr Corbyn - even while acknowledging his "remarkable result which I did not foresee".

"The Corbyn enthusiasm, especially amongst the young, is real, but I would hesitate before saying that all those who voted Labour voted to make him prime minister, or that they supported the body of the programme rather than its tone".

Blair's comments are at odds with the EU's negotiating stance, which stresses there can be no "cherry picking" from the benefits of membership of the EU's single market without accepting freedom of movement for European Union workers.

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"This is a completely changed situation in Europe".

He suggests Britain could team up with other Eurosceptic countries to form an "outer circle" of the EU.

Europe has a number of new leaders, including France's centrist President Emmanuel Macron. "He tapped into something real and powerful, as Bernie Sanders has in the US and left groups have done all over Europe". The European leaders, certainly from my discussions, are willing to consider changes to accommodate Britain, including around freedom of movement.

On Brexit, Mr Blair said: "If Labour continues to be for leaving the single market, and the signs are that it will, then we are essentially for the same policy as the Government". "They do think Brexit means Brexit and, for now, there is no groundswell for a second referendum".

But Blair claims that a majority of voters oppose a "hard" Brexit and aspire to "a strong relationship with Europe".

Overall, he concludes, the United Kingdom "is deeply divided - between young and old, metropolitan and outside the cities, better off and worse off".

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