Speaking to the Huffington Post, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair predicted an election victory for the Tories under former foreign secretary Boris Johnson if the Labour Party fails to part ways with the “revolutionary” politics of its leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Following Theresa May's promise that she will stand down as the UK Prime Minister if parliament approves her Brexit deal, Blair said that Labour will have to counter Johnson's “right wing populism” if he wins the race to succeed May.
“If you have a Boris Johnson-led Conservative Party, he’s a formidable campaigner, he’s an interesting personality, he can get out there and do his stuff, for sure. I have absolutely no doubt that if you have a right-wing populism against a left-wing populism in this country, the right-wing will win. So it depends where we [Labour] stand,” Blair pointed out.
At the same time, he added that any Tory would have to be “certifiable” (crazy) in order to seek election under the “shadow of Brexit”.
Johnson Hits Out at May’s Brexit Deal
Blair spoke after Johnson referred to the book of Exodus in the Old Testament and the Israelis leaving slavery in Egypt, while writing about Theresa May and Brexit in his weekly Daily Telegraph column earlier this month.
“If she cannot give that evidence of change, she should drop the deal, go back to Brussels, and set out the terms that so many on both sides — Remainers and Leavers — now believe are sensible. Extend the implementation period to the end of 2021 if necessary; use it to negotiate a free-trade deal; pay the fee; but come out of the EU now — without the backstop. It is time for the PM to channel the spirit of Moses in Exodus, and say to Pharaoh in Brussels — LET MY PEOPLE GO”, Johnson noted.
Earlier, he hit out at Remainers and Brexit objectors, claiming that politicians in Britain are still struggling to understand what Brexit really means and who runs the EU.
“I couldn't tell you who they are, or what they do or how they came by their jobs or how they may be removed from office. I have no idea how to kick those particular b******s out — I'm not saying they are b*******s. But millions and millions of people in the UK have no idea how the system works. It's completely cut off to them”, Johnson claimed.
In January, Johnson said it would be “shameful” for the UK government to request an extension of Article 50, and that it would be seen by the public as an “elite conspiracy to thwart Brexit”. According to Article 50 of the Maastricht Treaty, any country which seeks to leave the bloc has to do so two years after giving notice.
Corbyn Warns Against ‘Catastrophic’ No-Brexit Deal
Corbyn, for his part, urged a House of Commons earlier in March to “work now to find a solution [on Brexit] – to deal with the crisis facing the country and the deep concerns that many people have for their livelihood, their lives, their future, their jobs, their communities and their factories.
“It’s up to us, as the House of Commons, to look for and find a solution to their concerns,” he underscored.
Earlier, he pledged to support a second referendum after his Brexit alternative was voted down in Commons in February, saying that “we will back a public vote in order to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit or a disastrous no deal outcome”.
In January, Corbyn underscored the need to “stop the danger of a no-deal exit from the EU […] which would be catastrophic for industry, catastrophic for trade”.
Netizens Perplexed by Tony Blair’s Remarks
Most Twitter users remained unimpressed by Blair’s predictions, which were described by some as an All Fools Day joke.
This is the April Fools, right?— Gaviи™ (@gavinaldrich) 1 апреля 2019 г.
Clickbait gold dust.
Is this an April fools?— Tom (M)iller 🐖 (@Fzzap) 1 апреля 2019 г.
Bungle would beat Corbyn in an election pic.twitter.com/y6CLdfaW5T— Charlie Bull (@cbdontsurf) 1 апреля 2019 г.
Others claimed that neither Johnson nor Corbyn would prevail in the possible general elections in the UK.
Corbyn isn't revolutionary (though his hardcore supporters imagine him such). In fact, he's pretty small-c conservative in many respects#hottakemonday— Rob W. 🇪🇺😱🇬🇧 (@hopelesscontra) 1 апреля 2019 г.
Well I guess it’s better than living with the regret of voting for Blair #metoo— Jeremy Griffiths🌹 (@joinjeremy) 1 апреля 2019 г.
Confirmation, if needed, that the last thing Blair is interested in is the poverty wrought on people by this Govt. He's only interested in ££££ for the few. Expel him @UK_Labour.— Dangerous DaisyDewdrop #JC4PM 🌹🌹🌹 #ForTheMany (@Daisydewdrop18) 1 апреля 2019 г.
Not if he continues with his line in the Telegraph this morning in which he focuses on Mr Corbyn changing his mind. At least Mr Corbyn took 2 years to change. Last week Mr Johnson only took 2 hours— Brynley (@Brynleydm) 1 апреля 2019 г.
A tub of lard would beat corbyn— wendy graham #remainer (@onewendy) 1 апреля 2019 г.
GO AWAY Blair…..— Máirtín (@hakalakazoom) 1 апреля 2019 г.
Have you no dictators to swoon
Neither of them would win.— Ben Kay #AgentRevokateur (@Old_Ben_Kay) 1 апреля 2019 г.
Blair’s comments were preceded by Theresa May’s announcement last Wednesday that she is “prepared to leave this job [of the British Prime Minister] earlier than I intended in order to do what is right for our party and country”.
The remarks were followed by the UK Parliament rejecting May's Brexit agreement for the third time on 29 March and the EU giving Britain until 12 April to reach an alternative withdrawal deal, or leave without any deal at all on that date.