John McDonnell says Tony Blair is out of touch on Brexit debate
The shadow chancellor was responding to comments made in relation to Labour’s objectives for the deal.
John McDonnell has accused Tony Blair of being out of touch with the “nature of the debate” when it comes to Brexit negotiations.
The shadow chancellor was responding to comments the former Prime Minister made in relation to Labour’s objectives for the deal.
Asked about Mr Blair’s comments that Brexit followed by a Jeremy Corbyn government would leave Britain flat on its back, Mr McDonnell said: “If you listen to ordinary people in this country now, what they want is basically a Brexit that will protect their jobs and protect the economy.
“We believe we can achieve that traditional British compromise of bringing people back together again. That is what we need now.
“What we don’t want is to have divisions in the country again.
“To be frank, Mr Blair hasn’t really listened to the nature of the debate that is going on in the pubs, the clubs and school gates etc.”
Mr Blair also described the party’s vision of a “jobs first” Brexit outside the single market as a “contradiction in terms”.
Speaking at a strike rally for low-paid hospital workers in east London, Mr McDonnell responded: “What most people want now is a Brexit that will protect the economy, protect their jobs and not effect their living standards.”
He added: “We think we can negotiate access and that will protect jobs and will protect the economy.
“If we can change the tone of the negotiations into one which is based upon mutual interests and mutual respect, we can get more flexibility.
“We can’t achieve that under this Government because it is split, it is in disarray.
“We can never be clear what kind of negotiation stance it is having from day to day.
“In addition to that, I believe that they’ve set a tone for these negotiations, which is not constructive.”
Mr McDonnell said the result of the referendum had to be respected and that what most people now want is a Brexit that will protect the economy and protect their jobs.ends