In an interview with John Humphrys on BBC Radio 4’s Today, Tony Blair made a statement highlighting his stance on Brexit. While Blair said that people should be given a chance to change their mind over the “long-suffering” Brexit, the presenter, for his part, accused him of being “tendentious” and “elitist” in his approach to Brexit and argued that it could provoke “civil disobedience.”
Humphrys insisted on the fact that British people were offered a clear choice and they opted for leaving the EU, and Blair answered that “we didn’t at that point when we had the referendum know what the alternative is.” However, he couldn’t finish his point as the host interrupted him:
“But we didn’t say to people “look, bearing in mind that it could be tricky getting out of the European Union we may have to come back to you which way do you want to vote.” We said “do you want to vote, do you want to stay in or do you want to leave?” They voted to leave.”
Humphrys suggested that Blair could have another referendum if he was dissatisfied with the results of the first one.
“No. If you take the decision on the 23rd of June 2016 and you take it on the basis you want to leave the European Union, you then have a negotiation, you then have the alternative to our present membership of the European Union. Once that is put before the people, people are entitled to think again and indeed the common sense would be to say if the circumstances change and we then look at this new relationship and decide on reflection that that new relationship does not offer us a better way forward for the future of the country why shouldn’t we be entitled to think again?” Blair said.
In the course of the interview, Humphrys cited an anonymous shadow minister who claimed that voters would think that Blair’s stance “sounds like the metropolitan elite ignoring them.” Later the presenter accused him of being “tendentious” after he argued that the government’s resources were insufficient to focus on Brexit.
“I accept entirely the result of the 2016 referendum. I am simply saying one very, very simple thing which is that in 2016 you knew you wanted to get out of the European Union but you didn’t yet see the terms of the alternative relationship,” replied Blair.
Tony Blair has repeatedly called for reversing Britain’s impending secession from the EU, which would, in his view, lead to dire consequences in economy and politics. The majority of the population voted in the June 2016 referendum to withdraw from the European Union. Since June 2017 Britain and the EU have been negotiating new arrangements for the UK outside the bloc. The Brexit date has been set for March 29, 2019.