Blair says that people have the right to change their minds and that
many ‘leave’ votersnow felt “disenfranchised”. Photo / File
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has suggested Britain
“should keep (its) options open” for a second Brexit referendum because
more than one million people have allegedly changed their minds about
leaving the European Union.
Blair, who is vehemently pro-EU, told
Sky News: “One of the reasons why we should keep our options open is
that yes, the referendum expressed the will of the people – but the will
of the people is entitled to change.”
An opinion poll carried
out in the wake of the Brexit decision suggested that more than 1.1
million people regret their vote to leave the EU.
Blair said even
more people may begin to feel differently about their decision if the
threat of Brexit follows expert predictions and triggers a recession.
pointed out that the winning margin for ‘Leave’ was only four per cent
and that while the will of the people must not be overruled, people do
have the right to change their minds.
Forty eight per cent of referendum voters nominated to remain while 52 per cent opted to leave.
odd thing about the referendum was we knew what we were getting out of,
(but) we don’t know what we’re getting into,” Blair said.
that becomes clear, if it’s clear that these terms are bad for us, if we
have major parts of business and the financial sector saying look this
is not a good deal for us, if people start to worry about their jobs, we
should just keep our options open.”
Blair told the BBC that many ‘leave’ voters felt “disenfranchised” since the Brexit vote.
“There is going to be a negotiation of
extraordinary complexity where there are a thousand devils in every
detail. Those we used to call “our European partners” are,
unsurprisingly, divided and uncertain themselves,” he said.
“If the will of the people shifts, why shouldn’t we recognise that?
“We our sovereign. Let’s just keep our options open.”
Both prime minister David Cameron and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have ruled out a second EU referendum.
Blair told Radio 4 the case for leaving the EU had “crumbled” despite the Brexit vote having been of “seismic importance”.
said Prime Minister David Cameron’s resignation and the leadership
contest meant the focus would be on appealing to Conservative Party
members rather than the country’s national interest.
He said the
government should engage now with other EU countries to see what room
there was for manoeuvre, stressing the continuing importance of
Cameron’s role in this, rather than waiting for the outcome of the Tory
“If … once we look through the rest of our
European partners, we start to see where there is a possible route for
compromise, my point is this: We are sovereign. Let’s just keep our
options open,” Blair said.
“Yes right now, it’s clear, we’re leaving. But we don’t know what we are going to.”
Blair said Britain had “diminished” its place in the world and would have to “fight to get it back”.
“My point is why do all this unless there’s some huge gain we can see on the other side, which right now we can’t,” he said.