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FORMER prime minister Tony Blair emerged from the woodwork yesterday to call for a second EU referendum.
Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Blair claimed there was “absolutely no reason why we should close off any options.”
While he acknowledged that Britain had voted to leave the EU, he added a caveat, saying: “You can’t change this decision, unless it becomes clear … that the British people have had a change of mind because they have seen the reality of the alternative.”
Mr Blair’s suggestion would see Britain follow the examples of Ireland and the Netherlands, both of which forced their electorates to vote again on EU treaties until acceptance was obtained.
He said the public had voted to leave the EU without knowing the “precise terms of our new relationship with Europe,” adding: “Once we get clarity on that, then we can decide between two alternatives, and not simply decide what we don’t like about Europe.”
Writing in the New European newspaper, Mr Blair said: “The issue is not whether we ignore the will of the people, but whether, as information becomes available and facts take the place of claims, the ‘will’ of the people shifts.”
Failed Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith tweeted: “Tony Blair is right: Brexit is a catastrophe and we must continue to make the case for Europe.”
However Lexit convenor Alex Gordon hit back at Mr Blair’s comments.
“Tony Blair is the most discredited politician in Britain.
“He is the perfect spokesperson for the Remainers because he embodies total contempt for democracy, with total subservience to the biggest corporate elements of corporate capitalism and imperialism.
“When he was prime minister, he and his foreign secretary Jack Straw promised a referendum on the EU constitution, but instead proceeded to rubber-stamp the Lisbon Treaty without a referendum.”
He warned that there was no room on the left to oppose the democratic decision of British people, and that those who stand against Brexit will end up siding with figures such as Mr Blair.
A No 10 spokesman brushed off the former prime minister’s comments, saying: “There will be no second referendum. Britain is leaving the European Union.”
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