Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Blair: May is irresponsible to try and steamroller her deal through

Mr Blair added the Prime Minister had his respect and his sympathy but he would remain silent on how the nation could break the Brexit impasse.

Former prime minister Tony Blair (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Former prime minister Tony Blair (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Former prime minister Tony Blair has labelled Theresa May “irresponsible” for trying to steamroller her deal through with the threat of no deal Brexit.

Denying his call for a second referendum was an “insult to the office he once held”, Mr Blair said he was speaking out in the national interest and in the interests of democracy.

Mrs May has accused him of “undermining” her Brexit negotiations with the call, which she said was an “insult to the office he once held” and said MPs could not “abdicate responsibility” to deliver Brexit by holding a new poll.

But Mr Blair refuted her claims and said he was speaking out in the national interest and in the interests of democracy.

He said: “To describe such a course as an insult is a strange description of what would be the opportunity for them to instruct Parliament as to how to proceed.

“Far from being anti-democratic, it would be the opposite – as indeed many senior figures in her party from past and present have been saying.

“What is irresponsible however is to try to steamroller MPs into accepting a deal they genuinely think is a bad one with the threat that if they do not fall into line, the Government will have the country crash out without a deal.”

The former Labour leader said he was within his rights to offer advice when the country was “in crisis” over “the most important decision our country has taken since the end of World War Two”.

Mr Blair said it was “perfectly clear neither the British people nor their Parliament will unite behind the Prime Minister’s deal” and that was why she was forced to pull the vote last week.

“In these circumstances it is not irresponsible or insulting to put forward an alternative way to achieve resolution,” he said.

“The sensible thing is now to allow Parliament to vote on each of the forms of Brexit canvassed including the Prime Minister’s deal.

“If they can’t reach agreement then the logical thing is to go back to the people.”

Mr Blair added the Prime Minister had his respect and his sympathy but he would remain silent on how the nation could break the Brexit impasse.

He said: “I have always said, and did again in my speech on Friday in London, that I personally sympathise with the PM’s heavy burden in doing her job.

“I do not disrespect her at all. I understand her frustration.

“But I profoundly believe that the course she is pursuing will not work and is emphatically not in the National interest. And that’s the reason I am speaking out and shall continue to do so.”

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph