Tony Blair warned No Deal would be ‘catastrophic’
The former Labour leader has reissued his call to put Brexit back to a people’s vote – while insisting that the people should not be consulted in a general election.
Meanwhile his immediate successor Gordon Brown joins the fray today on the eve of a Johnson premiership, issue a grave warning that no deal with be ‘deeply damaging’.
Writing in the Times, Mr Blair warned the inbound PM had three options: to force through no deal in defiance of Parliament, call a general election, or conduct a referendum offering two choices: no deal or remain.
He said: ‘The obvious and right course is to go back to the people in a referendum.’
Mr Blair argued a general election ‘because of the weakness of Labour’ would be ‘unacceptable and deeply damaging’ on the ground that Brexit was chosen in a single-issue referendum and should not be ‘mixed up with the normal business of politics’.
He said Theresa May’s deal failed because her objectives were incompatible, writing: ‘If we leave the European trading arrangements, there will be friction at the [Northern Irish] border. Hence the backstop. It came about precisely for this reason.
‘When Johnson says that no British prime minister should be put in the position of having to choose between leaving the European Union and its trading arrangements, and treating Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the UK, he doesn’t seem to appreciate that we have put ourselves in that position.’
Boris Johnson is expected to move into 10 Downing Street this week upon winning the Tory leadership contest
Mr Blair argued there is ‘no prospect’ of the EU reneging on its commitment to Ireland, or reopening the guarantee accepted by the UK government that the Irish border.